- Snow Leopard habitat opening 12 April - Update March 2023

- Asha and Manju to arrive in March 2023 - Update 10 October 2022

- One paw-step forward for our Snow Leopard project - Update 16 August 2022

- Uncooperative weather, work progressing - 17 June 2022 Update

- The Velvet Queen Fundraiser - 17 May 2022 Update 

Project Overview

We plan to redevelop an unused habitat space along our Asia precinct walkway into an expertly designed habitat that will house New Zealand’s only Snow Leopards. The habitat will be accompanied by a unique visitor experience which will help our community learn about the species and the threats they face in the wild. This project will complete our Asia precinct and tie into the stories of our Sumatran Tigers, Sun Bear, and Red Pandas, creating a complete narrative for our visitors.

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Our new Snow Leopard Habitat will be designed to ensure that Asha and Manju live their best possible lives here at Wellington Zoo and that we can provide and support best practice animal care and welfare.

The habitat will emulate the Snow Leopard’s natural environment, encouraging the animals to display natural behaviours. The steep, rocky terrain will provide physical exercise by encouraging jumping and climbing. The habitat will also offer plenty of space for Asha and Manju to patrol and will include trees for climbing and scratching. The design of the habitat will allow our Snow Leopards to feel camouflaged and rest whilst still being visible to visitors.

Visitor Experience

The Visitor Experience will tell the Snow Leopard’s story and help our visitors connect with these charismatic animals. It will be an immersive and interactive journey for visitors, young and old. The design will transport you to the Himalayas to learn about this critical big cat species and their role in the environment as guardians of the highlands.

 The Snow Leopard area will be multi-dimensional with multiple viewing, play, and interactive areas for visitors to explore. Stories from our conservation partner, Mountain Spirit, will play an essential role in the design. Outside the habitat, an audio cubby will provide a space where visitors can sit and listen to the stories from our partner who are fighting to protect Snow Leopards as they face the challenges of climate change.