The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


Permanence or Profit, Miami Zoo or Miami Wilds

Joseph Abrahantes
With a new plan for the Miami Zoo, commissioners are on the verge of turning the city’s wildlife park into a dangerous, money-seeking destination.

Zoo Miami, the largest zoo in Florida, gifts children and families with an unforgettable experience of seeing nature from a closer perspective. Recently, a proposed development to the zoo has put the lives of the animals at risk. Throughout the past few weeks, the possibility of adding a waterpark, called Miami Wilds, to the zoo has been discussed by Miami-Dade commissioners. After almost three decades, this project has been the center of controversy among animal experts and local government officials. 

Though this project was proposed in the 1990s, developers have delayed it to avoid harming the environment and animals. On Sept. 6, Miami-Dade commissioners planned on voting whether to extend the lease agreement of the development plan, allowing the addition of the waterpark and putting the animals’ lives on the line. The vote luckily got postponed, giving another day of hope to the zoo’s animals. 

I don’t think making the new waterpark is worth the lives of all the endangered animals kept in the Zoo. Animals are too important to humans, the ecosystems, and the environment for them just to be killed for business. If you think about it there are many more waterparks you could go to in Miami, so why build a waterpark near the largest Zoo in Florida?”

— freshman Valeria Sarmiento

Nevertheless, the zoo’s Communications Director Ron Magill opposes this concept, expressing his concerns about its negative impact on endangered species. Despite the commissioner’s previous argument that it would benefit the economy of South Florida, the proposed water park itself would ruin the nature of a diverse habitat as well as worsen local resident’s attitude towards the zoo, considering that they do not get a say in the decision. 

“Since I was a little kid, I’ve always enjoyed going to the zoo because I love animals. Only now I just heard about the animals that could die because of this construction.  I feel like these commissioners aren’t taking into consideration how Miami residents feel. Since Miami is hot, I feel like most people would like this waterpark, but in reality, if more people find out about this construction and how it will kill certain species, they will switch opinions,” sophomore Brooke Lawson said. 

Magill, however, believes that the lease should be denied, though commissioners argue it will be able to compete against Walt Disney World and the Florida Keys. This idea was initially proposed by Dennis Moss, a commissioner for the Miami Zoo, in hopes of luring tourists away from the Keys and Disney World; more visitors to the Miami Zoo could help restore and gain more popularity. 

“If their goal is to get more business, it would work, however, they are not going to be able to compete with places like Disney and Rapids if they know they are risking the lives of animals to build it. If you think about it, Disney and Rapids are huge, and they gain daily income but I feel like Miami Zoo is a place that’s for us [Miami residents]. Unlike Disney and Rapids, everyone goes to those places for vacations but the Miami Zoo?” freshman Carlos Londoño said.

Should Miami Zoo be preserved or altered?


Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

Although this proposal would bring beneficial effects for Miami by adding new interest and allegedly boosting the economy of South Miami-Dade, the problem continues to be the commissioners’ greater interest in money rather than the animals’ lives. Said officials would pitch in forty-seven million dollars for a project that is unclear. Since they have not considered the opinions of Miami residents, this leads to uncertainty in whether this addition will really make the estimated amount of revenue. It is undoubtedly clear that these commissioners want to make the Miami Zoo a lucrative place. 

Among all the animals sheltered there, bonneted bats are a unique example of a species that could get harmed by such a major and destructive change. Across the globe, only less than 1,000 bonneted bats are left. These species have suffered the loss of habitat due to swift land development and climate change. If this project is put into action, then it might just be the end of the bonneted bats. 

“Now that I have heard the news of this development plan, I think it’s a terrible idea to build the waterpark because the habitats destroyed for the construction of the park will harm the animals, later causing them to possibly extinct. Considering how I am an animal lover, I’d hate for my favorite animals to become endangered because of the construction of a waterpark,” freshman Antonella Olive said.

Currently, the zoo is home to 150 endangered species as it has one of the most biodiverse habitats in Florida, coming second to the Everglades. Because the covetous commissioners put the economy first, the home to trees, plants and animals, from newly discovered to endangered and almost extinct species, will be destroyed. The pine rocklands, the area to be destroyed to build the waterpark, will leave all these animals stranded; it is certainly not worth risking the lives of thousands of animals and their habitats for the personal gain of commissioners. 



Leave a Comment
About the Contributors
Valentina Gomez
Valentina Gomez, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Valentina Gomez is a freshman in the International Baccalaureate program in Gables. Although it may be her first year in CavsConnect, she is looking forward to a fun academic year. She enjoys playing sports she is bad at. When you see her, she is talking or laughing with her friends. She would say she speaks three languages but putting her pride apart, she speaks two languages and a half. The other half is French. Her favorite color is any shade of pink. She loves winter along with Christmas. Most of the time, you will see her with her AirPods on full volume listening to Brent Faiyaz or Frank Ocean. When she feels like it she paints, which probably happens once a year.
Joseph Abrahantes
Joseph Abrahantes, CavsConnect Business Manager
Joseph Abrahantes, a sophomore in the International Baccalaureate program and second year member of CavsConnect, is excited to come back as the publication's Business Manager. Hoping to work in STEM in the future, Joseph plans to get more involved with the Science National Honor Society as well as Gables' Science, Engineering, Communication, Mathematics and Enrichment club to further his experience. Additionally, his love for biology has driven him to become a tutor with Gables’ Interact club. Joseph fuels his academic spirit with his 10 hour long playlist, ranging from Kendrick and Baby Keem to Doja Cat and SZA, whose songs he knows by heart.
More to Discover
Donate to CavsConnect

Your donation will support the student journalists of Coral Gables Senior High School. Your contribution will help us cover our annual website hosting costs.

Donate to CavsConnect

Comments (0)

The CavsConnect staff encourages comments and conversation on all of our content. We reserve the right to remove comments that are vulgar, rude, hurtful, or unrelated to the topic.
All CavsConnect Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *