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Lincoln Park Zoo Kovler Lion House

Discussion in 'United States' started by JVM, 22 Sep 2014.

  1. JVM

    JVM Well-Known Member

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    No discussion of Lincoln Park Zoo here can go without mentioning the zoo's historic Lion House, a building last renovated around 1991. The indoor hall includes around 8-10 dirorama-style small exhibits, with a gift shop at the end, as well as large bathrooms in the basement. Many have noted it is very loud. One outdoor side has two grottos for lions and tigers with glass windows and the other side has around five enclosures with natural substrate and vegetation as well as rockwork.

    The exhibit is home to (as of 7/30) lions, Amur tigers, Pallas' cats, Servals, Red pandas, Jaguars, an Amur leopard, and a Cougar. It has also housed, in the past, a Black leopard, Snow leopards, a Eurasian lynx, and a Persian/Afghanistan leopard. The Black Leopard was very old and died a year or two ago, and could only live indoors for the last year of it's life. I do not know the fates of the other species but I know the Amur leopards seem to have replaced the Persian/Afghan leopards. The Red pandas are a new addition from 2010 I believe as well.

    Species are rotated in and out so they all have hypothetical indoor and outdoor access, but only the lions and tigers can exchange freely, and I have never heard of the Jaguar being outside or the Red pandas inside. Servals, lynx and leopards have been rotated. Most species have access to 2-3 indoor areas at a time (the servals had 3 and jaguars had 2 on 7/30) as they are so small and are not limited to a single exhibit. The general trend seems to be downsizing the collection to maximize the limited space.

    More than once Lincoln Park Zoo has utilized it's most historic exhibit buildings, like the former Small Mammal House and old Reptile House, as new restaurants/gift shops while new exhibits can be built. However, space is very limited, and Lincoln Park Zoo has not undergone genuine expansion in probably two decades, with most of it's construction projects being over old exhibit space. African Journey gutted the former Large Mammal House while Macaque Forest, Center for African Apes and the new Childen's Zoo were all built over former exhibits. These all pose interesting questions for the Lion House's future.

    Obviously, it's a very disappointing exhibit, but I'd like to discuss potential ways to renovate it more than anything else. The tricky question is there's any land left to use for a new complex or whether the existing one would need to be gutted anyway.

    Gallery Photos:
    Lion Grotto
    Amur Tiger Grotto
    Grotto window
    Leopard Exhibit (I believe the Amur is now here.)
    Pallas' cat exhibit
    former Snow leopard exhibit (I think the Pallas' cats were moved here and the Red pandas are in the former Pallas' cat exhibit)
    Cougar exhibit
    Main indoor Hall
    Row of indoor exhibits
    Indoor exhibit
    Indoor exhibit (w/ Eurasian lynx)
    Indoor exhibit (w/ Eurasian lynx)
    Indoor exhibit (w/ Jaguar)
    Indoor exhibit (w/ Amur leopard)
    Indoor exhibit (lions)
    Indoor exhibit (jungle background)
     
  2. blospz

    blospz Well-Known Member

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    If they relocated all the animals, they could turn it into a cafe or something similar like the Toledo Zoo did with their own cat house.
     
  3. Buldeo

    Buldeo Well-Known Member

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    I only have vague memories of the Lincoln Park Zoo -- it's been about twenty years since my last visit -- but the lion and tiger grottoes look *exactly* the same. They might have some more vegetation, but, man, ha LPZ really fallen that far behind the times?
     
  4. JVM

    JVM Well-Known Member

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    It's a shame it's such a fossil - many of their other updates are or were state-of-the-art exhibits in historical context. I do love the building from an architectural standpoint but can't defend the substandard grottos. I'd really want them to find a way to re-purpose the building after they move the animals though, and maybe keep some smaller species like the Red pandas and Pallas' cats there, while the big cats can move.

    I know grottos are really expensive to tear down, which is why Brookfield Zoo's old bear grottos are embarassingly fenced off despite the animals having been moved three years. (I'd almost rather they kept the Andean bears in the substandard grottos as long as the exhibit was still there and the species isn't getting a new home.)

    The tough question is do they have the room to build a new exhibit and if not, what can they replace? I can't see the zoo dropping out of the big cat business entirely. The only large area of land with an old exhibit is the Antelope-Zebra area and I don't think it'd be easy to replace the camels, kangaroos and takin.

    They could possibly build an Asia-type area with Takin, Amur tigers, Amur leopards and camels, but they'd still be losing Kangaroos, Zebras and Lions.
     
  5. JVM

    JVM Well-Known Member

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    As of 6/3/2015, the exhibit has three younger lions (two newly arrived) an Amur tiger, two new Red pandas, one elderly Serval, one Jaguar, and some representation of Pallas' cats, Snow leopards and Eurasian lynx. I did not circumvent the entire exhibit in this instance and cannot report on the status of the Amur leopard or Cougar, but believe at least one must have been removed for the Snow leopard, and suspect it is the Amur leopard.

    Thoughts on this - with the possibility of a new African Savannah renovation, since the area is off-exhibit while they work on the new Tundra, is it possible the Zebras could be moved, or could that conflict with the Ostritch, Waterbuck, Giraffe, Gazelle species? That would make it largely a question of the lions and kangaroos. Even most of the smaller species in the Cat House (Eurasian lynx, Red panda, Snow leopard, Pallas' cat) could be moved to a potential Asia exhibit, and I forgot the White-lipped Deer could move there. If a little area could be made by Regenstein African Journey for lion and serval exhibits I think this idea could really work with minimal species loss. (Cougar, Jaguar, Kangaroo, Peccary, probably Serval but it'd be nice to keep them)

    EDIT: Checked the website, looks like the Amur leopard's gone. Unsure how/why
     
  6. JVM

    JVM Well-Known Member

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    As has been covered in the news thread, the Lion House will be the next target for renovation, although it looks like all species but the lions themselves will possibly be lost, the tigers being most spotlighted.
     
  7. JVM

    JVM Well-Known Member

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    The renovations for the Lion House have slowly begun. The familiar indoor diorama-style exhibits are being covered and hidden from guests.

    From the LPZ News Thread:
    I witnessed these renovations in-person as well.

    As a side note, they have both Amur and Snow leopards again, the Pallas' cat is gone. Neither of those cats was visible or active though.