World-renowned conservationist and city attraction Chester Zoo has announced its plans to design and build an all-new habitat for snow leopards are moving ahead. The welcome news follows local councillors for Cheshire West and Chester giving their approval to the project.
The new habitat will be constructed in the Zoo’s Himalayan-themed area and provide a home for a pair of snow leopards, which are a part of an endangered species that is now under threat. Wildlife specialists at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimate that there are fewer than 3,500 of the big cats remaining in the wild. The new Himalayan area and upcoming cat enclosure is part of Chester’s involvement in a global conservation breeding programme for snow leopards.
Threatened with extinction, the world’s snow leopard population is in rapid decline. The zoo is dedicated to caring for the celebrated species and exploring how it can assist with well-established projects set up to preserve big cat populations across Asia’s high alpine areas, where they are indigenous.
Development Director for Chester Zoo, Cathy Lunn, commented on the project:
“Our exciting new habitat will help us to highlight how these incredible animals are under threat from a range of factors, not least climate change as their snow-covered habitat in the Himalayas warm at three times the global average.”
Work is expected to start on the new habitat by the end of this month, with the hope that it will be able to welcome visitors by spring next year.