Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Asian Highlands Groundbreaking
Asian Highlands Groundbreaking
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo August 17, 2017
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo officially broke ground on Thursday August 17 on Asian Highlands, a new state-of-the-art exhibit that will enhance animal habitats as well as create a more engaging guest experience focusing on conservation.
The new global destination area of the Zoo, set to open in Summer 2018, will be home to the Zoo's Amur leopard, snow
leopard, red pandas, including two red panda babies born at the Zoo in June, and takin.
Once complete, the total footprint of Asian Highlands will be just shy of an acre.
"Before" picture of Asian Highlands
Guests will experience central Chinese influenced architecture and stone work, incorporating elements of Asian culture throughout. A diverse array of natural elements found in the regions of Asia where these species reside in the wild will be replicated throughout the habitats.
Chris Kuhar, Executive Director of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, was asked where the animals originally come from. He said the Snow Leopard is from Western China, the Red Pandas from more Central China and the Amur Leopard from the Eastern coastal regions.
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The Amur and snow leopards will be provided over four times the amount of space.
The new exhibit will give the animals an opportunity to rotate between four different interconnected habitat areas that offer complexity and new enrichment features, including elevated platforms and tunnels, climbing poles and more.
Red Panda babies
The red pandas will also enjoy a significantly larger, more complex space. Also included in the project will be a renovated yard for a new species for the Zoo, the takin, a goat-antelope species.
Glass viewing in the new $4.5 million dollar exhibit will allow guests unobstructed views of the animals, allowing guests to connect with the animals like never before.
Asian Highlands rendering
"The Zoo is actively involved in the conservation of these ambassador species' counterparts in the wild," says Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director Chris Kuhar. "The exhibit will offer guests some unique ways to learn about and join our conservation community that supports scientists studying and protecting Asian wildlife in their natural habitats."
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian Zimmerman told of the Zoo's new tagline "Securing the Future of Wildlife".
He then introduced Cleveland Metroparks Board of Park Commissioners Chair Bruce G. Rinker. Rinker spoke of the responsibility that zoos around the world have and how Cleveland is leading the way.
Bruce G. Rinker
Next to speak was Chris Kuhar, Executive Director of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Dr. Kuhar said the next exhibit will highlight some of the most endangered species from Asia. It will do what's best for the animals and provide complex environments. Let the animals do what the animals do.
After a quick look at the future space the gold shovels were grabbed and the groundbreaking commenced.
Asian Highland Groundbreaking
Asian Highlands will be home to all of these endangered species, especially one of the most endangered big cats on Earth, the Amur Leopard, with fewer than 100 known to remain in the wild.
Asian Highlands will be funded jointly by Cleveland Metroparks and the Cleveland Zoological Society, the nonprofit partner of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
The Zoo Society will provide up to $3.8 million to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for construction of the new habitat. The exhibit is part of the Zoo's Master Plan to create more dynamic spaces for the animals and an immersive experience for guests.
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