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Lions Roar Back in to Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: September 17, 2021 1:30 pm

Pepper Family Wildlife Center Lincoln Park Zoo

Three female African lions will live at the Pepper Family Center. They are pictured here at their previous home, Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

Photo Credit: Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

Lincoln Park Zoo have announced the opening date for the Pepper Family Wildlife Center which will see zoo guests able to meet lions and other carnivores again. The new habitat will welcome guests from Thursday October 14th 2021.

At present the new residents including a pride of four lions, two red pandas, two Canada lynx and two snow leopards are settling in to their new habitats ahead of the opening.

Pepper Family Wildlife Center Lincoln Park Zoo

A Canada lynx settles in to its new home at the Lincoln Park Zoo's Pepper Family Wildlife Center

Photo Credit: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo

“All of the new residents of Pepper Family Wildlife Center have arrived safely and are settling in well,” says Maureen Leahy, vice president of animal care and horticulture. “As a science-based institution committed to advancing animal welfare, this renovation focuses on animal choices. From thermal comfort zones to trees for climbing, and even special enrichment features, the new space provides so many choices for the lions.”

The transformation of the historic lion house was made possible through a $15 million gift by Roxelyn and the late Richard Pepper. Work started on the $41 million renovation in December 2019.

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The original lion house was constructed during 1912 and was designated as a Chicago landmark in 2005. This renovation has seen upgrades to the interior and exterior of the house plus an expansive new habitat for the lion family.

To ensure the new habitat is perfect for the lion pride its design was informed by the data collected over the last several years. It occupies the entire northern side of the building and includes rockwork to allow them to climb and a range of cooling elements.

Pepper Family Wildlife Center Lincoln Park Zoo

A snow leopard settles in to its new home at the Lincoln Park Zoo's Pepper Family Wildlife Center

Photo Credit: Jill Dignan / Lincoln Park Zoo

Guests of the zoo will have opportunities to see the lions from inside and outside the Pepper Family Wildlife Center. Indoors guests can experience the Lion Loop funded by the Women's Board of Lincoln Park Zoo which will allow guests to view the habitat from its center.

Another feature of the habitat is the demonstration training wall where guests can see the lions as they participate in their own healthcare.

Goettsch Partners is the principal architect and PJA is the exhibit designer for Pepper Family Wildlife Center. Pepper Construction is the General Contractor.

Pepper Family Wildlife Center Lincoln Park Zoo

A red panda settles in to its new home at the Lincoln Park Zoo's Pepper Family Wildlife Center

Photo Credit: Christopher Bijalba / Lincoln Park Zoo

Learn more about African Lions here – African Lion Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Lincoln Park Zoo on their website – Lincoln Park Zoo

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