The Rolling Hills Zoo has big plans for some of its big cats. The zoo begins an effort to build a new habitat for the lion.
According to the zoo, mimicking the savanna grasslands of Africa, Kansas’ native tallgrass prairies serve as the inspiration for the all-new lion experience and habitat at Rolling Hills Zoo, The pride of the prairie. Plans are for construction to begin this fall.
Always striving to be one of the top attractions in central Kansas, The pride of the prairie will provide an extraordinary experience, while providing the highest standards in animal care. Rolling Hills Zoo founder Charlie Walker said, “I wanted a world-class park, and if we were to have these animals, we were going to do it right. For this reason, the status quo has never been an option at the Rolling Hills Zoo.
Wanting to do their part to ensure that the Rolling Hills Zoo (RHZ) 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 as a foundation. for individual matched gifts to fully fund the $ 500,000 Pride of the prairie experience.
“Few animals are more iconic or representative of grassland ecosystems than the African lion,” said Ryan VanZant, executive director of RHZ. “At 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 alive among the Smoky Hills of Saline County, just west of Salina, in the very near future! “
Unlike all other lion habitats in Kansas, The pride of the prairie will provide a high ‘cliff-like’ vantage point for lions to keep a watchful eye on their domain, mimicking their native savannah. From inside the rock cave, guests will experience face-to-face encounters with the pride of the lion from the safety of the cave viewing area. A special training wall inside the observation cave will allow guests to watch the lions participate in their own health care during daily training sessions with the keepers.
Another interesting feature 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). Later, this space could serve as a den for a lioness and her cubs during their first months of life, while providing guests with a “first glimpse” of the new cubs.
The pride of the prairie habitat will also ensure that the Rolling Hills Zoo continues to exceed AZA’s high standards of care for African lions by doubling its outdoor space.
The fundraising campaign continues for the zoo to acquire the corresponding donations necessary to make The pride of the prairie a reality. Donations can be made online at https://www.rollinghillszoo.org/donation or by mailing it to Rolling Hills Zoo, c / o Pride of the Prairie, 625 N. Hedville Road, Salina KS 67401.