Construction wraps up at new tiger exhibit

The pool inside the new tiger exhibit at John Ball Zoo
The pool inside the new tiger exhibit at John Ball Zoo

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.(WOOD) — Construction is wrapping up at the Tigers of the Realm exhibit at John Ball Zoo  and will be turned over to zoo keepers to get the tigers acclimated to their new home.

The zoo’s general curator, Dan Malone said a lot of work went into the exhibit to make sure it’s as natural as possible.

“You’ll be able to feel like you’re in a shaded wood and kind of walking with the tigers,” Malone said.

An inside look at the new tiger exhibit at John Ball Zoo
An inside look at the new tiger exhibit at John Ball Zoo

Malone said they made sure to keep large trees and the ambiance of being nestled in the forest.

“It’s really great for the tigers because the mature trees will offer some really shaded areas for them, some areas where they can exhibit some natural behaviors, like scratching trees,” Malone said.

There are some add-ons though, wire winds the trees to make sure the tigers don’t do any climbing.

There’s also a small pool for the big cats.

The zoo plans to expand on the area, adding a flex habitat that will open in the summer of 2015.

“The flex habitat will be a little further removed from this habitat, connected by what we call the Tiger Trail, which the tigers will be able to maneuver from one exhibit to another,” Malone said.

Area outside of the new building that will house the tigers
Area outside of the new building that will house the tigers

The Tigers of the Realm exhibit is scheduled to open June 14 but Malone said it all depends on how quickly the tigers get comfortable in their new home.

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