As winter draws to a close, the Lincoln Park Zoo just received word that permits have been approved to build home for two of their more popular cold-weather animals. Last week, the zoo finally received the go-ahead to begin work on new polar bear and African penguin habitats. The $22 million project will replace, improve and ultimately expand the area devoted to some of the zoo's signature attractions, with an expected 2016 opening date. Taking up 45,000 square feet at the northeast corner of the zoo, the new, more naturalistic addition will replace the 32-year-old polar bear habitat with a updated, "land-based" structure, to be called the Walter Family Arctic Tundra. The new design reflects current research on how to better care for the animals in captivity, and a built-in breeding room (no pressure). The zoo's current polar bear, Anana, is staying in North Carolina during construction.
The forthcoming Robert and Mayari Pritzker Penguin Cove will replace the Kovler Penguin-Seabird House that closed in 2011. The new space will provide expanded living spaces for about a dozen African penguins initially, including a simulated beach. It's also been designed for a larger population, as the zoo formulated the space with breeding in mind. Along with the recently opened Regenstein Macaque Forest, these exhibits are part of a big expansion year for the zoo.
·New habitats for penguins and polar bears at Lincoln Park Zoo [Tribune]
·Previous Lincoln Park Zoo coverage [Curbed Chicago]