PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — World Lion Day, Tuesday, Aug. 10, is a chance to bring awareness to the vulnerability of the species, but also celebrate the king of the jungle.
In preparation, WMBD’s Matt Sheehan and Annie Kate visited the Peoria Zoo to learn more about the lions on display, Arthur and Lizzy.
At the Peoria Zoo, located at 2320 N. Prospect Rd. in Peoria in Glen Oak Park, staff are celebrating with a zoo “donation day.” This means that admission is free for everyone Tuesday. Those that wish to still give money will contribute directly to the zoo’s operations.
Yvonne Strode, Director of the Peoria Zoo, said she wants to bring awareness to the fact that lions are a vulnerable species.
On top of that, Strode said big cats are susceptible to viruses including COVID-19.
Visitors can choose enrichment items for the lions to enjoy. These include ice blocks, cardboard boxes, and various fragrances. Strode said it offers mental stimulation for the cats and said it is also exciting to watch.
Typically, visitors could place the enrichment items in the lions’ habitat themselves, but because of the vulnerability to the pandemic, staff controls this step.