Breaking Ground for Bengal Tigers at America’s Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College

America’s Teaching Zoo at Moorpark College residents include 4-year-old Bengal tigers, Neil and Karma. Arriving at the zoo as 50-pound cubs—Neil rescued from the pet trade and Karma gifted from an East Coast safari park—the tigers have flourished under the loving care of staff, including students, growing to a massive 375 and 275 pounds, respectively!

Thanks to generous community support, Neil and Karma will soon be enjoying a new $3.5 million 4,000-square-foot sanctuary complete with a tiger tunnel connecting two large enclosures and a water feature where they can splash and play.

“When completed, Rajah’s Retreat will be the embodiment of the dreams of our students, faculty and staff brought to life through the support of our community members and business partners,” said Moorpark College President Julius Sokenu at a recent groundbreaking ceremony commemorating the start of formal construction of Rajah’s Retreat Tiger Exhibit and Habitat.

Following speaker remarks, guests held a “Golden Shovel” ceremony to acknowledge major gifts from Moorpark College and other donors, as well as the hundreds of contributions from the community who helped fulfill the long-awaited dream of building a retreat for the tigers.

Special guests included Grammy-nominated performing artist John Ondrasik (“Five for Fighting”) and his wife Carla, who hosted a live outdoor “Concert for the Cats,” raising more than $50,000 for the tiger’s exhibit, which is expected to be completed in June 2022.

Amador Whittle Architects in Agoura Hills designed the 8,700-square-foot development to be constructed by the Bedrock Group Inc., from La Canada Flintridge.

“The Exotic Animal Training Management program and America’s Teaching Zoo provide wildlife education and model animal conservation practices for children and adults. Learning in the new tiger habitat will prepare our students for careers in high-wage, high-skill employment in zoos, wildlife rehabilitation centers and aquariums,” said Sokenu.

For more information about supporting the tigers and visiting America’s Teaching Zoo, go to or call 805.378.1441.

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