ROYAL OAK (WWJ/AP) – The Detroit Zoo is getting $500,000 toward the development of a wolf habitat, scheduled to open in 2015.

The zoo said Friday the donation comes from the Cotton family, which includes Meridian Health Plan founders David and Shery Cotton.

Construction will begin this year on the new wolf habitat, located at the southwest corner of the zoo.The design will include grassy meadows, trees, a flowing stream and pond, wolf dens and elevated rock outcroppings from which the wolves can survey their surroundings and zoo visitors.

The Cottons, along with sons Sean, Jon and Michael, also donated the lead gift for the development of the zoo’s Cotton Family Wetlands and Boardwalk.

“Our family is honored to support this project and to help bring this native species back to the Detroit Zoo for the first time in 25 years,” David Cotton said in a statement. “For decades, the Zoo has played an important role in the conservation of wolves in Michigan.”

In 1952, the Detroit Zoo sent four wolves to Isle Royale in the Upper Peninsula to be released as part of a program to help re-establish the species.

Additional funds to support the wolf habitat will be raised at Sunset at the Zoo – themed “Howling at the Moon” – on Friday, June 13 from 7 to 11:30 p.m.

The 21-and-older gala offers a strolling supper with tastes of signature dishes from 40 of the area’s finest restaurants as well as desserts and zoo-themed specialty drinks. The event also features live entertainment, dancing in the moonlight, live and silent auctions and access to the zoo’s award-winning animal habitats as the sun goes down. To purchase tickets, visit

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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