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Moorpark College Breaks Ground On $3.5 Million Bengal Tiger Habitat Expansion

MOORPARK (CBSLA) — The two Bengal tigers who live at Moorpark College are getting a new, $3.5 million habitat.

moorpark college bengal tiger
(credit: Moorpark College)

The college's America's Teaching Zoo broke ground last week on Rajah's Retreat Tiger Exhibit and Habitat, which will serve as an expanded sanctuary for the Bengal tigers named Neil and Karma. Planning on the sanctuary's expansion started when Neil and Karma arrived in 2017 and they were just 50 pounds each.

Neil and Karma are now fully grown, and weigh in at 375 and 275 pounds, respectively, zoo officials say.

The 8,700-square-foot development was designed by Amador Whittle Architects in Agoura Hills and will be built by the Bedrock Group Inc. of La Canada Flintridge. It will eventually include 4,000 square feet of habitat complete with a tiger tunnel to connect two large enclosures, a water installation where the tigers can splash and play in front of zoo guests, and a glass viewing area for visitors. It is scheduled to be completed in June 2022.

The grassroots fundraising effort for the project was pushed past the goal line by Grammy-nominated artist John Ondrasik, better known as Five for Fighting. Ondrasik and his wife are who is a regular visitors to the zoo, and their son attends Moorpark College. In September, Ondrasik and his wife, Carla, hosted "Concert for the Cats," a live, outdoor concert at the college that raised more than $50,000 for the project.

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