SentryGlas® Gives Lions More Zoo and Visitors More View
Since 1928, the Detroit Zoo has displayed kings (and queens) of the jungle. The zoo's 3,500-sq-ft lion habitat was one of the first animal exhibits featured when the Detroit Zoo opened. Until 2011, the exhibit had remained about the same, giving zoo guests a somewhat distant view of lions, seen from the safety of a viewing area separated by a 22-ft-wide, water-filled, cement-walled moat. Beyond that, "out there" could be seen the Detroit Zoo's lions.
The zoo now has six lions: Bikira, Emily, Erin, Katie, Larson and Percival. Two were rescued several years ago: one from an abandoned building and another from a suspected crack house. Three more lions recently found sanctuary at the zoo, after living at a junkyard in Kansas.
For rescued felines, decent care-giving, space and habitat can be a huge improvement. But the Detroit Zoo has welcomed its expanded lion family this year by more than doubling their outdoor roaming area (from 3,500 sq ft to 7,500 sq ft)... without taking away space from other animal exhibits.
What's more, visitors can now see the lions face-toface, eye-to-eye, sometimes just a few feet away, while standing in their same environment, separated by only a laminated glass screen, made with SentryGlas® ionoplast interlayer from Trosifol™.
Landscaping features are shared on both sides of the glass, for a more complete feeling of immersion in the habitat. The million-dollar exhibit overhaul even includes heated warming rocks, placed near the glass, inviting the big cats to lounge closer to human observers on cooler days. Giving lions a better zoo and patrons a better view ... without inviting real danger ... meant using extra strong safety glass in the clear barrier screen.
The enclosure's 17-ft-high glass walls include 60 panels of laminated glass starting near ground level, mounted using horizontal line supports at the top and bottom. The clear screen starts with 8-ft-tall, 4-ft-wide laminated glass panels made of four layers of tempered 1/2-inch-thick extra clear (low-iron) glass, alternating with three layers of clear 60-mil SentryGlas® ionoplast interlayer from Trosifol™. It's a new style of multi-layered glass often used in high-security situations, to provide durable barrier strength plus extra clarity.
"It can take the force of a 2.5-ton truck at 40 miles an hour, which is considerably more than any lion," said Ron Kagan, executive director of the Detroit Zoological Society Executive Director.