Animal ambassadors visit 3TV ahead of Tiger Trail opening at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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by Catherine Holland

GMAZ segments by Scott Pasmore and April Warnecke

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 14 at 5:11 AM

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is just a couple of months from opening its new Tiger Trail.

Rick Schwartz stopped by 3TV with a few of his fellow ambassadors to tell Scott Pasmore and April Warnecke all about the new exhibit, which is slated to open Memorial Day weekend.

Schwartz (aka @ZooKeeperRick) introduced Pasmore to a gorgeous milky eagle owl and a super-alert bat-eared Fox, while Warnecke met a mellow Savannah monitor and lithe African serval.

With a price tag of $19.5 million, Tiger Trail is a 5.2-acre forested habitat designed to offer visitors close-up views of the six Sumatran tigers that call it home.

With fewer than 400 Sumatran tigers in the wild -- a number that's dropping -- scientists estimate that the species will be extinct in its native Sumatra by 2020.

While Tiger Trail is not open yet, you can take a virtual tour online at SanDiegoZoo.org/tigertrail.

Known as the San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park until just four years ago, San Diego Zoo Safari Park is home to more than 2,600 animals from more than 300 species.

About half of the park's 1,800 acres is reserved as a preserve for native species.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in San Diego, about 2 million people visit the Safari Park each year.

Like the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is run by the Zoological Society of San Diego.

San Diego, an extremely popular destination for Phoenicians during the sweltering summer months (hence the nickname "Phoenix West"), is about a six-hour drive from the Valley of the Sun.

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