New exhibit featuring new species to open at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Next week, a new exhibit opens at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

"What we really wanted to do is bring in a cultural element in Asia, highlight those conversation issues, and bring a different flair to the zoo," said Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director Dr. Chris Kuhar.

It's called Asian Highlands, and it features red pandas, amur leopards, snow leopards, and a new animal for Cleveland's zoo--the takin.

The takin comes from the Himalayas, and its built for cold, making it a good fit for the Northeast Ohio climate. It's often referred to as the "goat antelope" due to its appearance.

The exhibit will soon include three baby snow leopards, born at the zoo in April. They'll get their own enclosure, complete with 3D climbing platforms and poles, so they can learn to climb like their parents, but in a fail-safe environment.

"They can learn how to climb on these spaces without having to climb very far, if they were to slip and fall," said Kuhar. "It's a much smaller distance, they're falling on the grass. This is kind of our baby-proofed yard, so to speak."

In addition, the exhibit features information and interactive tools geared toward education on conservation, including how to protect and preserve the animals and their habitats.

"We've got some amazing conservation wheels where you can learn about conservation, learn more about how you can secure a future for wildlife, but then there's just great animal habitats," said Kuhar.

The exhibit is about one acre. Planning for the project has been underway for about two years, zoo officials say, but they broke ground on construction in August.

Asian Highlands will open for guests next Tuesday, June 12.

Copyright 2018 WOIO. All rights reserved.