The animal-care staff at the Kovler Lion House recently conducted an exhibit swap with two animals. Our male Amur leopard, Mitya, was moved from an outdoor exhibit into an indoor space and our male jaguar, Kianto, was transferred to the newly vacant, outdoor area.
Sounds simple, right? Hardly. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes with each animal move. In this case we started months ago, training each big cat to voluntarily enter a mobile enclosure that enables staff to transfer animals, as the indoor and outdoor exhibits in this situation do not connect.
Then we had to clean and disinfect the exhibits before prepping each with scent enrichment to stimulate the new occupants and prompt them to explore their new spaces.
Mitya remembered the indoor exhibit from a previous stay there, so he confidently roamed around like someone returning to familiar digs. The jaguar was a bit more cautious exploring his yard, though he soon began hopping up onto the highest perches, affording him the best view of his new space.
Both big cats are on exhibit today. If you’re free to visit Lincoln Park Zoo, be sure to stop by the Kovler Lion House and greet the big cats.
General Curator Dave Bernier