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Asian Highlands Exhibit Opening

Asian Highlands Exhibit Opening
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
June 12, 2018

Asian Highlands, the new state-of-the-art destination at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, is now open to the public. The immersive addition is home to Amur and snow leopards, red panda and a new species to the Zoo, takin.

Asian Highlands now open

Brian Zimmerman, Cleveland Metroparks CEO welcomed the crowd to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo new Asian Highlands exhibit which features the Amur and snow leopards, takin and red panda.

Brian Zimmerman

Brian Zimmerman


He introduced Cleveland Metroparks Commissioner Bruce G. Rinker who spoke next.

Bruce G. Rinker

Bruce G. Rinker


Next, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director Dr. Christopher Kuhar spoke of the importance of the new exhibit.

Dr. Christopher Kuhar

Dr. Christopher Kuhar


NOTE: The images below with a white arrow in the middle are videos. (The other images are just photos) You can click on the white arrow to watch the video of whatever is described. Make sure your speakers are on and you can make the video full screen once it begins by clicking the icon in the lower right corner.



Brian Zimmerman invited dignitaries to cut the ribbon opening the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo new Asian Highlands exhibit



Ribbon cutting opening the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo new Asian Highlands exhibit


Ribbon cutting opening the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo new Asian Highlands exhibit

The new destination includes significantly larger and more complex habitats for the animals. Asian Highlands will also feature several glass viewing areas where guests can get nose to nose with some of their favorite animals. The architecture of the structure is designed with elements representative of central China, the region these species are native to.

Takin info at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Takin at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Takin at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo



“We are constantly looking at how we can enhance the environment for the animals we care for and the experience for our guests,” said Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director Dr. Christopher Kuhar. “Developing Asian Highlands was a natural fit because of the conservation work the Zoo supports in that part of the world, supporting scientists studying Asian wildlife in their natural habitats.”

The footprint of Asian Highlands totals 1.3 acres. The Amur and snow leopards will enjoy larger, more complex spaces, including four separate leopard habitats that give the animals an opportunity to rotate between interconnected areas.

Snow leopard at Asian Highlands at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Snow leopard at Asian Highlands at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo


Snow leopard at Asian Highlands at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo


The areas offer climbing structures, elevated platforms, cooling caves and more. Later this summer, the Zoo’s new snow leopard cub triplets will move from their current home at the Primate, Cats and Aquatics building into a specially designed cub yard at Asian Highlands. In total, the leopard yards offer three times more space compared to the previous habitats.



The Zoo’s two red pandas will enjoy 25% more space and a radiant “deadfall” cooling tree, designed in-house by Cleveland Metroparks visual communications team, that will allow the animals to cool off, while still in public view.

Red panda at Asian Highlands at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Red panda at Asian Highlands at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo


Red panda at Asian Highlands at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo


One of Asian Highlands’ residents, the Amur leopard, is the most endangered big cat species on Earth with fewer than 100 animals estimated to remain in the wild.

Amur leopard at Asian Highlands at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Amur leopard at Asian Highlands at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo



Amur leopard at Asian Highlands at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo



An education plaza highlights the conservation issues these species face, a “conservation wheel” and a showcase of handmade items available for purchase in the gift shop. The education plaza and items for sale encourage guests to join the zoo’s Future for Wildlife conservation community and take action. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Future for Wildlife program supports both the Snow Leopard Trust and the Red Panda Network.

The total project cost was $5.8 million and was jointly funded by Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Cleveland Zoological Society, which provided $3.8 million.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo also announced Asian Lantern Festival presented by Cleveland Clinic Children’s that will light up the zoo for five weeks this summer. The limited engagement will take place evenings, Thursday thru Sunday from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., beginning July 19.

Asian Lantern Festival preview

See more on the Asian Lantern Festival at the Zoo.

The event featured several Asian performances.

Playing the Erhu

Playing the Erhu


Paj Tawg Tshiab (which directly translates to "blooming flower" in Hmong) is a traditional dance group focused on preserving the performing arts of the Hmong people.

See photos and videos of Paj Tawg Tshiab at the Zoo

Paj Tawg Tshiab (blooming flower) traditional Hmong dance group  at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Paj Tawg Tshiab Hmong dance group at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo


7th grader Deepa Manikandan performed a Bharatanatyam dance from Tamil Nadu in southern India. Performing in front of a bear habitat, Deepa began by balancing and dancing on a mudpot and then told the story of the 10 avatars of Vishnu and three animals - deer, peacock and snake - in her dance.

Deepa Manikandan performing Bharatanatyam dance from Tamil Nadu in southern India at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Deepa Manikandan performing Bharatanatyam dance


See photos and videos of the Bharatanatyam dance at the Zoo

John Cosma of the Cleveland OCA Dragon Dance Team performed Taiji/Baqua routines at various locations around the new exhibit.




John Cosma with OCA flag

John Cosma


Johnny Wu and Dan Hanson

Johnny Wu and Dan Hanson



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