Though half a world away, the mountainous areas of Asia share a similar climate and landscape with Northeast Ohio. Forests, hilly backdrops and variable temperatures define the region. The Zoo is already home to several species native to such terrain: visitor’s favorite red panda and snow leopard, and the Amur leopard. All three species now call Asian Highlands’ home along with takin, a new species to Cleveland.
About the habitat
Asian Highlands opened in June 2018 along the outer pathway of Wilderness Trek, a hilly area that already highlights forest-dwelling species such as bears, wolves and tigers. It is adjacent to Rosebrough Tiger Passage, which features similar habitat design to Asian Highlands.
Asian Highlands truly maximizes vertical space and climbing opportunities that showcase the species’ agility and preference for being up high. Red panda spend most of their lives in trees. Snow leopards traverse landscape edges. Amur leopards are often seen resting in places with high vantage points.
Dramatic overhead tunnels run over "moon gates" at the visitor entrance to the habitat. These tunnels connect four large outdoor yards for the two leopard species, allowing maximum choice for the animals and an intriguing view for guests. The cats have four times the size of their current space, and the yards are fully meshed, allowing outdoor access around the clock.
Climbing poles and tree “nests” that mimic natural resting places are included for red panda. Climbing platforms at various heights and pitches give the cats a chance to climb and leap more than ever before.
All of the species are cold-hardy, meaning they can remain outdoors throughout Ohio winters. In the warmer months, the habitat’s cooling caves and slabs will bring relief during the hottest summer temperatures.
The total project cost for Asian Highlands was $5.8 million and was jointly funded by Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Cleveland Zoological Society, which provided $3.8 million.
You can help!
Donations to the Zoo Society's ZooFund help support Zoo animal care, education and conservation programming for animals at Asian Highlands and throughout the Zoo.
Make a donation at the top of the page to provide essential philanthropic support. For more information about the ZooFund, please contact Jennifer Lynch-McKinney at McKinney@ClevelandZooSociety.org.