The Welsh Mountain Zoo – National Zoo of Wales has kick started construction work for its ambitious and unique ‘Silk Road’ project as part of an exciting £1million investment programme.
The project has spent several years in its development stages, securing funding via crowdfunding and attracting support and endorsements from across the globe. Celebrities including Dame Judi Dench, John Cleese, Michael Sheen and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall also helped to raise awareness via social media.
WynneConstruction, has been appointed to manage the construction process and work on site has now begun.
The first project of its kind to be launched in the UK, Silk Road involves a completely new home for the Zoo’s Snow Leopards, creating a representation of the mountainous regions in which the endangered species lives. The Silk Road will forge links with China and the Himalayan mountains exploring the Chinese culture, language, environment and species that originate from there.
The Snow Leopard enclosure will be designed to offer visitors a nose to nose visual experience through glass, whilst an elevated walkway will journey around the enclosure, offering panoramic views across the Zoo and to the Carneddau Mountains.
Nick Jackson, CEO of the Welsh Mountain Zoo said: “It really is fantastic to finally see the Silk Road project get underway. This is one of the most exciting and innovative developments that we have seen here at the Welsh Mountain Zoo. We believe no other zoo or wildlife attraction in the UK has taken a similar imaginative leap in combining the Zoo community’s traditional offers of promoting biodiversity, conservation and tourism/ leisure experiences, with the cultural and environmental interests of two very different nations. Therefore, not only will the Silk Road be an important new chapter in the history of the Zoo, but it will also be of significant benefit to the region as a whole.”
The Zoo is home to a pair of breeding Snow Leopards and through the years has become increasingly involved in conservation campaigns and projects to raise awareness of their endangered status, having made an annual financial commitment to support the Snow Leopard Trust. The Silk Road will help highlight their position in the wild, whilst creating an exciting and innovative enclosure that will form an important part of the Zoo’s future.
Work is expected to be completed later in the Spring when the Silk Road will be officially open and accessible to visitors.