San Francisco Zoo's lion house reopens

June 12, 2009 2:31:02 PM PDT
The San Francisco Zoo has reopened its Lion House to the public for the first time in about two years, zoo officials announced today.

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The Lion House, home to Siberian and Sumatran tigers, African lions and snow leopards, opened Thursday afternoon and will remain open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for public viewing, according to the zoo.

Zoo Executive Director Tanya Peterson said the opening was to commemorate the zoo's 80th anniversary this year, and because of its popularity with visitors.

"The Zoo's mission is to connect people with wildlife, and the Lion House provides visitors with that personal connection with these majestic animals," Peterson said.

Public big cat feedings will remain closed to the public and will be done in the morning before the zoo opens "to provide them a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere," the zoo said.

The zoo's big cat feedings were first discontinued after a December 2006 incident in which a female zookeeper was bitten and clawed, then reopened briefly in September 2007, and discontinued again after the Dec. 25, 2007, fatal mauling of a zoo visitor by an escaped tiger.

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