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Saturday, May 18, 2024
HomePet NewsCats NewsPurr-fect timing: Big cat environment almost total as zoo resuming methods

Purr-fect timing: Big cat environment almost total as zoo resuming methods


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MC zoo reopens Saturday

Washington Park Zoo Director Jamie Huss greats Stripes, the zoo’s tiger, through a glass window thick adequate to stand up to the force of a charging tiger or lion.

Doug Ross, The Times

MICHIGAN CITY — Stripes the tiger got up and extended prior to roaming to the window to welcome Washington Park Zoo Director Jamie Huss.

“He’s doing his yoga,” Huss said as the huge cat extended his muscles.

The thick glass windows are something brand-new at the zoo this year.

“The big cats love the windows. They love the views,” Huss said. The back of the display is strong mesh to permit air flow.

With Washington Park Zoo set to resume Saturday, the brand-new $1.7 million huge cat environment is almost completed. This winter season’s weather condition was best for the significant building and construction job.

A preview of the $1.6 million enclosure will be kept in December to honor individuals associated with the building and construction, consisting of donors, Director Jamie Huss said.

Doug Ross

Workers are removing asphalt in front of the brand-new display and changing it with concrete. The brand-new surface area will be more powerful, simpler to stroll on and there won’t be any stress over moving sands below it.

People are likewise checking out…

Inside the display, there are brand-new shift cages with scales to keep an eye on the animals’ weights to permit much better treatment.

Stripes is the zoo’s sole staying tiger, and he’s nearing completion of his life span. His bro, Stars, passed away in February of feline leukemia, among the most typical causes of death for house cats and huge cats alike.

Huss isn’t sure what will enter the existing tiger display when Stripes passes away. Animals at the zoo are saves, so it will depend upon what other zoos in the Zoological Association of America need to provide. Whether it’s a tiger or a leopard, the space will be prepared.

MC zoo reopens Saturday

Asphalt in front of the huge cat environment at Washington Park Zoo is being removed and changed with concrete.

Doug Ross, The Times

West of Stripes’ home — the opposite of the duplex — are the zoo’s lions.

Getting money for the huge cat environment was a concern. The previous space wasn’t big enough to fulfill requirements under a brand-new federal law.

“All these animals have been very attentive during the construction,” Huss said.

To help the huge cats get accustomed to the brand-new windows, zoo staff had actually the windows covered initially and gradually revealed a growing number of to let the animals get accustomed to their brand-new views.

Future jobs

This fall, Huss wants to begin on a brand-new Wings of Wonder show for the zoo’s birds.

The brand-new display, which will cost $175,000 to $200,000, will permit the birds to take pleasure in totally free flight year-round.

The show will be heated up to secure the birds in winter season.

Huss wants to ultimately extend the zoo’s season, which presently ranges from April Fools’ Day to Halloween, to consist of March and November, too. Ticket sales don’t totally cover the zoo’s operating expense, however the additional profits would work. Caring for the animals is a year-round task.

Also on the list of enhancements prepared at the zoo is a renovated alligator and capybara show.

“We gave the alligator a little mound to hide behind,” Huss said.

In the off-season, the alligator remains at a rescue center. The zoo is his summer season getaway, she said.

She wants to provide the alligator a warm home at the zoo to remain year-round.

On the opposite of the display, capybaras will have a home that visitors can see into. The fence around the display was partly gotten rid of to permit the brand-new home to be put in location, however it will be brought back in time to keep the animals in location.

MC zoo reopens Saturday

The brand-new huge cat environment at Washington Park Zoo will be almost total by Saturday, opening day for the zoo.

Doug Ross, The Times

The capybara get an in-ground swimming pool, and their brand-new house will have a front patio to rest on.

A brand-new present shop is on the zoo’s dream list. The existing present program, at the zoo’s entryway and exit, is confined. That’s particularly an issue when camps take place at the zoo, bringing big groups on the very same schedule.

The brand-new present shop would be constructed on a hill on the zoo’s western edge. The style requires a two-story building with a living roofing and Lake Michigan views.

An education center would be included into the brand-new building. Education is among the zoo’s main focuses. That’s a structure approximated at $1 million.

“We were happy Ivy Tech chose us” for a class job on creating the brand-new building, Huss said. Students provided a range of style ideas for zoo authorities to pick from.

Enrichment for animals

Visitors will discover a brand-new function this year — decals like blades of lawn that help animals seem like they’re in their natural environment. It’s simply among the methods zoo staff attempt to help the animals’ psychological health.

“Every day, everybody gets enrichment in the whole zoo,” Huss said.

Giant jingle bells — big balls with a bell within — are a big hit with the lions and tigers, she said. “Those balls are pretty expensive, and they don’t last all that long,” she said.

Tiger pawprints on sale in the present shop help fund enrichment products for the zoo’s animals.

MC zoo reopens Saturday

Stripes checks out his brand-new window at Washington Park Zoo.

Doug Ross, The Times

Black-handed spider monkeys have actually a suspended treat ball to check out and old fire tubes to get on.

“We try to recycle as much as we can,” Huss said. The zoo staff strategy to be at the Earth Day occasion this April at the Porter County Expo Center.

Goats have a brand-new deck to get on, consisting of a swinging bridge, constructed by Holladay Construction employees in 2015. This year, wolf and bobcat decks are prepared.

Volunteer help, along with financial contributions, is valued. “We always try to use people when we can,” Huss said.

Children can aid with deal with the premises however need to be thoroughly monitored by chaperones, Huss said.

School groups have actually assisted the zoo, too, either by doing a charity event or physical labor. Both are welcome.

If you go

Zoo hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. General admission is $10 for grownups, ages 12 to 61; $9 for elders, 62 and older; $8 for kids ages 3 to 11; and totally free for kids under 2. Michigan City homeowners can reveal their ID for a discount rate.

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