ZooMontana in Billings announced Wednesday it will receive $51,000 from a state tourism grant to build and market its new sloth exhibit.
The grant is a part of the Montana Department of Commerce's Eastern Montana Tourism Partner Initiative, which directs state tourism dollars to market projects across the region to encourage more visitors.
“A gift of this magnitude from the Montana Department of Commerce showcases just how important eastern Montana is on their agenda,” said Jeff Ewelt, ZooMontana's executive director. “These types of community investments will only strengthen our local economy, not to mention, help Billings get a sloth.”
ZooMontana was one of eight projects to receive funding in this round of grants through the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development. The grants are funded through hotel and motel bed taxes.
The zoo plans to begin construction on the Stockman Bank Sloth exhibit as soon as possible and begin marketing once the exhibit is completed.
Ewelt said the addition of the sloth exhibit will help educate guests and students the importance of wildlife and habitat conservation while looking at the evils of the illegal wildlife trade.