Max Gets a New Home

Cougar moves permanently to Wildcat Sanctuary as the zoo upgrades its facilities.

As the Lake Superior Zoo continues to upgrade its facilities, it waved a goodbye paw to a familiar face.

The zoo is still finalizing plans on a $15 million renovation, but those new ideas won’t include an old cat.

Max the cougar is getting adjusted to his new surroundings at the Wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone.

“Max is a pretty cool cat. I’ll tell you that not often do we have a cat that’s this well adjusted,” said Wildcat Sanctuary executive director Tammy Thies.

Max comes to the sanctuary after five years at the Lake Superior Zoo.

“Obviously we have a lot of love for Max. He is really a great animal. He’s incredibly friendly,” said Maicie Sykes, lead zookeeper at the Lake Superior Zoo.

The zoo is currently renovating habitats including Max’s and they’re getting ready for an accreditation review this summer.

“Max is a lucky guy from living his years at the zoo as well as finding his forever home here,” said Thies.

Max almost came to the sanctuary in 2011 from private owners in Iowa but the facility was full and the Lake Superior Zoo wanted an animal to showcase the reasons why wild animals shouldn’t be kept as pets.

“Luckily for us Max is incredibly friendly, an easy animal for us to work with. He went in with no issues. He wasn’t stressed,” said Sykes.

Zookeepers allowed Max to get used to his transport cage for a week before the big move.

“We couldn’t have asked for a smoother process,” said Sykes.

Now Max just needs to get used to his new surroundings and neighbors including a Bengal tiger named Zeus.

“And he’s making sure Zeus knows he’s here to stay,” said Thies.

The Wildcat Sanctuary says taking Max in is kind of a rarity for them because he’s been so well cared for. The majority of the animals they see have been given up.

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