Donations from Highland Capital leader James Dondero are among those responsible for the opening of a new hippo habitat at the Dallas Zoo that has opened to allow the return of hippos to the zoo for the first time in 15 years. The Dallas Zoo has not been home to any hippo, but those who remember the last hippo to be at the zoo and have asked President Greg Hudson to bring the animals back to Dallas, which has now happened with the aid of donors providing $14 million for a habitat to be constructed.
James Dondero and his Highland Capital company have been at the heart of the project at Dallas Zoo that has taken a number of years to complete as the safety and health concerns over the water and land based habitat. Costing an estimated $14 million to complete, the two acre Simmons Hippo Post includes a 120,000-gallon water tank with a large viewing area to allow visitors to the zoo the chance to witness these giant animals in their natural state swimming before a large viewing window.
The Harold Simmons Foundation provided the largest donation of around $5 million and saw the name of the founder of the Foundation giving his name to the Simmons Hippo Post. In the buildup to the construction of the Hippo Post the Highland Capital leader provided around $1 million in donations towards developing the hippo habitat at the Dallas Zoo, which is just the latest in a long line of community-based projects James Dondero and his Highland Capital employees have backed; the Highland Capital brand has been praised by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings for taking a stance to push forward the many community-based projects that are taking place in Dallas to build a better lifestyle for the people of the city.