Working on the principle of “better late than never,” Makini is the last cat at the Zoo to try the Zoo360 elevated trailways.
Before being paired with Tajiri, Makini transferred easily on his own between the first, fourth and fifth yards of Big Cat Falls using the ground tunnels. However, when offered access to the chute leading to the high rise areas, he would simply turn away. Tajiri, a more independent spirit, made use of all of the yards, bedrooms and existing tunnels before meeting Makini. Once the introduction phase began between the two, there were more immediate interests in the lion area—which resulted in the birth of four tiny cubs.
Recently, the cubs were finally big enough to manage the ascending chute, and Tajiri and the cubs first explored the newly added courtyard tunnel segment. After a few days of practice, they became professionals at navigating the concourse, and Makini was offered the opportunity to join them. He followed them up within minutes!
For all of the animals using the elevated tunnels, their view from the higher perspective is truly unique. Makini stopped to take it all in. He first looked out over the top of the leopard yard to see the main guest path. With the cubs tagging along, he spent time slowly walking the route toward the public waterfall. He was slightly startled by having guests walk under the slotted flooring beneath him, and he will have more time to experience that. The lions will explore in the courtyard section this winter, and as they become comfortable as a family, they will move forward to the Big Cat Crossing that allows them to see the Bird Lake area.
Join us to watch them explore!
By Kay Buffamonte, KeyBank Big Cat Falls Lead Keeper