The Rolling Hills Zoo is set to innovate with a new habit that they say will “usher in a new era for the zoo.” Inauguration of the new The pride of the prairie lion habitat is slated for Nov. 12.
Mimicking the prairies of the African savannah, Kansas’ native tallgrass prairies serve as the inspiration for the all-new Rolling Hills Zoo experience which will encompass nearly 20,000 square feet and include new indoor space, living quarters. additional out of exhibit and a close and personal 180 degree lion viewing cave.
Other highlights of this new addition include the ability for guests to stand directly under a 450 lb lion, or come face to face with it at one of the cave windows. A special training window inside the cave will also allow guests to be a few feet away, while animal care staff safely perform daily breeding with the lions, all part of the care. copies brought to each animal in the zoo.
One of the most interesting features of The pride of the prairie will be additional accommodation to present a male to the pride of the zoo. This building will include an observation window for guests to observe while the new lion is safely presented to the pride (which could take several years). In the future, this space could serve as a den for a lioness and her cubs during their first months of life, while providing a âfirst glimpseâ of new cubs.
Wanting to do their part to ensure that the Rolling Hills Zoo continues to thrive for the enjoyment of future generations, Bill Graves and Martha Graves Reese, of the William H. Graves Family Foundation, donated $ 250,000 to serve from foundation to a one-on-one challenge to fully fund the Pride of the prairie to live. Thanks to contributions from hundreds of donors, businesses and foundations, the challenge has been met and construction will begin in November.
“Few animals are more iconic or representative of grassland ecosystems than the African lion,” said Ryan VanZant, executive director of RHZ. âAt Rolling Hills Zoo, we couldn’t ask for a better species to serve as an ambassador for declining prairie habitats around the world. We are delighted to bring The pride of the prairie experience the lion to life this spring! “