Home to Amur leopards, snow leopards, Amur tigers, and red pandas, the Slawson Family Asian Big Cat Trek is a complex habitat designed for flexibility, exceptional animal welfare, and breeding. This exhibit provides variety through animal rotation and is evidence that an enriching experience for both guests and animals can be achieved while managing for cost. Goals included providing animals with 24/7 welfare and access, reducing staffing and operational costs, creating compelling guest experiences, and ensuring space to effectively breed these critically endangered animals.
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In 2021, a major addition to Slawson Family Tiger Trek built in 2009 created Slawson Family Asian Big Cat Trek. Originally home to Amur tigers, brow-antlered deer and red pandas, the expansion features four interchangeable Amur and snow leopard habitats linked by overhead transfer systems that the cats love to utilize. These habitats are connected to a state-of-the-art care facility that incorporates two private outdoor habitats. This abundant space provides for up to ten leopards, positioning the Sedgwick County Zoo to contribute to Amur and snow leopard population sustainability. Combined, the habitats are 10x larger than the Zoo’s original home for Amur leopards and provide expanded choice and control. Every habitat is completely enclosed and secure, enabling animals to be in their chosen home 24/7/365. Additionally, various climate zones provide opportunities for cats to warm up when cold or cool off on hot Kansas summer days.
Strategic design decisions realized both cost and carbon savings. By considering Amur and snow leopards’ natural adaptations and the Kansas climate, the project minimized conditioned space and structures, reducing construction resources. Reusing large existing stones on the site for landscape features to create dynamic natural environment, and using locally sourced Kansas limestone for the structures, reduced emissions otherwise generated from material transport.
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