Lions get new night house, coyote doubles floor space

Lion habitat concrete

On Tuesday, Turpentine Creek staff jumped in to help pour concrete for a new night house for Wyoming and Lucci, two of our male lions.

Improving their night house – the area where the big cats go at night to sleep and where they eat – is just part of the construction and expansion going on at TCWR. Because the USDA has increased minimum heights for cage enclosures up to 12 feet if they have a 3-foot jump rail, or 16 feet without, TCWR staff has been refurbishing all habitats built before 2005 to accommodate the new guidelines.

“Since we’re here putting up the higher fence anyway, we just thought it would be a good time to go ahead and put in this new night house for those guys,” says Turpentine Creek Curator Emily McCormack. “It’s in a better spot for several reasons, including water runoff. It will be more comfortable for them.”

Just up the hill, the habitat of Cheyenne, a coyote, has been undergoing expansion as well. “His habitat is long and narrow, but there is room to make it broader, so that’s what we did,” says McCormack. “I call it his ‘double-wide.’”


Growth and renovation are a continual part of life at TCWR. Within a few months construction will begin on the new on-site veterinary clinic, and the old “compound” are which housed Turpentine Creek’s original big cat population is being torn out to be replaced with larger, grassy, comfortable habitats for the big cats.

For information on how to donate to construction and expansion projects at Turpentine Creek, go to