Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Friday marks the first day of a new life for most of the animals at the Las Vegas Zoo.
Contact 13 has been exposing conditions at the privately-owned, roadside zoo for years.
It was forced to close down after all its zookeepers walked off the job and the U.S.D.A gave the owner an ultimatum.
Darcy Spears got a behind-the-scenes look today at the place where some of animals will live out their lives.
The difference between the zoo's lion and those who live in Henderson at the Lion Habitat Ranch?
"Night and day. Night and day," says Ranch Owner Keith Evans.
At the zoo, the lion had a narrow enclosure. Insiders tell us her only source of drinking water as of Thursday was a stagnant, algae-green pool.
At the Ranch, "She's got air conditioning, heat at night, water flow."
As for her health, Evans says, "We like to see females normally in the 300 pound range."
Most of the Ranch's females are close to 350 pounds. The zoo's lion weighed in at just 221 -- nearly 100 pounds underweight.
A closed building on the grounds of the Lion Habitat Ranch is where Maniac Girl, known as M.G. for short, will be living for about the next nine days.
They're then hoping to get her used to hand feeding so she can put on a little weight, get into a bigger pen and start socializing with some of the other animals.
Evans says the transition for M.G. Could be rough, considering the zoo is the only home the 15-year-old lion has ever known.
Darcy: How is her life gonna be different now?
Keith: Well I hope it's gonna be a lot more enjoyable. Just because we have a lot more people that work with lions. So she'll get the attention that they couldn't give her anymore."
Those moving the animals out of the zoo over the past few days say the conditions there were sad and dirty.
Many of the animals were malnourished and without fresh water.
The birds were being fed only seeds when their diets should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Ranch rescued the zoo's two ostriches and about a dozen other birds including Macaws, Cockatoos, and a mother Guinea Hen with her babies.
"The zoo was in trouble," says Evans. "Just like we'll be in trouble if we don't get support."
Zoo Director Pat Dingle struggled financially for most of the 35 years he ran the zoo.
Former employees say he was resistant to their efforts to make life better for the animals.
"What happened is sad," Evans says, "but he's now free of it and the animals are all going to good homes."
With the last of the zoo animals scheduled to be moved out today or over the weekend, all those involved say they're very, very optimistic that the animals will all have a chance for a much improved life.
For more information on the Lion Habitat Ranch, visit their website.