24 Mar 2023

We’ve been given the green light to create a new habitat for vulnerable snow leopards, arriving at the zoo next year.

We’re delighted that Cheshire West and Chester Council have backed our plans for a new Himalayan-themed area, which will soon be home to a pair of the iconic big cats.

The new area will allow our zoo to join a global conservation breeding programme for snow leopards.
Wildlife experts from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list the species as Vulnerable, and estimate the fewer than 3,500 now remain in the wild.

“Snow leopards are threatened with extinction and their population is rapidly declining. By caring for the species here at the zoo we’ll be joining the vital conservation breeding programme for these magnificent big cats, while we’re also exploring how we can contribute to projects that preserve snow leopard populations across the high alpine areas of Asia.”

Cathy Lunn, Development Director

Cathy added:

“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. We want to educate and empower our visitors to reduce their personal impact on climate change and help us to create a future where nature can survive and thrive.”

Snow leopards live at high altitudes in steep terrain in the mountains of central Asia and the Himalayas where they are gradually being pushed out of their natural habitat due to destruction caused by climate change, livestock grazing, their prey being hunted by humans and other conflict with people.

Work on the new snow leopard habitat will begin at the end of April, and we hope to open the habitat in Spring 2024.

Keep an eye out for updates here