A pair of cougars relax in the shade in their new home inside the Greater Vancouver Zoo’s North American species area. The cats were previously housed in the zoo’s large cat compound.

A pair of cougars relax in the shade in their new home inside the Greater Vancouver Zoo’s North American species area. The cats were previously housed in the zoo’s large cat compound.

Animals settling nicely into their new digs at Greater Vancouver Zoo

New homes for cats, coyotes, bears

The cougars, bears and coyotes have comfortably settled into their new homes at the Greater Vancouver Zoo’s North American species section.

Zoo spokesperson Jody Henderson says the area reserved for the indigenous species has been completely revamped over the past six months, and the transitions for the animals has gone smoothly.

A pair of cougars previously housed in the large cat section have been moved into their own compound of about 18,000 square feet, while a pair of coyotes now share the black bear compound, which measures 32,400 square feet. There are five bears but three of them are kept off-site.

Shadow, the grizzly bear, who was rescued from a Williams Lake garbage dump in 1999, retains her existing space but it has been upgraded and cleaned up.

The diesel bus which used to transport zoo visitors in the North American section has been decommissioned, for environmental reasons. It is now a natural but safe walk through the section, thanks to fencing and road changes over the past year that have also reduced the need for vehicles on walkways.

Sweetie, the Siberian tiger, has been joined by the two new Siberian cats from Korea, but they have separate spaces at the cat compound.

In other zoo news, Henderson says the building permits for the 5,400 square foot, 23-room animal care centre and new lemur house have been issued and the zoo is meeting with contractors about the expansion project.

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