TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — You’ll have to say goodbye to the felines until 2018 as the Topeka Zoo moves forward with building a new project called Camp Cowabunga. Starting June 18, 2017, Lion Pride won’t be available to guests. It’s the first project of the zoo’s master plan and the first of several that will add great new opportunities over the next ten to fifteen years.
“It might be a good thing for the lions,” lion lover, Amelia Gros said. “They get a new home and new changes…new friends. I think it’ll just be a good experience for them.”
The more than $4 million project will leave the lions off display for about 14 months — all of this for Camp Cowabunga which will give visitors a safari experience. However, it’ll cause the 300 pound lions to move to a quarantine facility in the zoo.
“Each cat will be anesthetized,” Topeka Zoo Director, Brendan Wiley said. “Then they’ll have to do a quick physical on them. They’ll be loaded into a carnivore transport crate.”
Not only are they creating space for Camp Cowabunga, officials said the zoo plans to move the Asian tigers closer to the other Asian animals in the zoo and expand the elephant exhibit.
“I think it’ll be sad to see that we can’t see them on display, but I think overall it’s going to be a benefit to the zoo and the city to have a bigger enclosure for the elephants,” lion lover, Shaun Miller said.
In the end you can expect a new lion’s den, lounging furniture and heated rocks in their habitat.