Lincoln Park Zoo, the 35-acre zoo in Chicago, has announced it will open a new habitat this autumn. The Pepper Family Wildlife Centre with be home to lions, as well as snow leopards, red pandas and Canada lynx.

The zoo received a $15 million donation from Roxelyn and the late Richard Pepper. Renovation work began in December 2019 and includes update to the interior and exterior of the historic building where the new habitat is located.

The Pepper Family Wildlife Center collaborated with the Commission on Chicago Landmarks to preserve, restore and enhance the architectural features of the historic building.

Maureen Leahy, vice president of animal care and horticulture, commented on the imminent opening of the new space: “We are eagerly awaiting the return of African lions to Lincoln Park Zoo.

“Transformation of the building provides a dynamic space for the lions and other species to thrive and will be a place for Chicagoans to support conservation of these vulnerable and endangered species in the wild,” Leahy added.