BILLINGS — ZooMontana in Billings announced Wednesday that it will receive $51,000 from a state tourism grant to build and market a 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.
ZooMontana was one of eight projects to receive funding in this round of grants through the Montana Office of Tourism & 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; there is no word yet on the estimated completion date.
“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.”
Ewelt said the addition of the sloth exhibit will help educate visitors about the importance of wildlife and habitat conservation while looking at the evils of the illegal wildlife trade.