Yorkshire Wildlife Park officially unveils Leopard Heights

Leopard Heights, the newest addition at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Picture: Marie Caley D3496MC
Leopard Heights, the newest addition at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Picture: Marie Caley D3496MC

Yorkshire Wildlife Park has officially opened Leopard Heights – the ground-breaking open topped enclosure that will bring you eye to eye with the Amur Leopard, the most endangered carnivore in the world.

With its pioneering design, the spectacular £300,000 reserve at the award-winning park has an 8m tall viewing tower, giving an unrivalled experience and view of the leopard.

From the 100 sq m viewing platform visitors come face to face with the leopards as they scale their 10m high climbing frames.

At ground level of the 6000 sq m enclosure there is a viewing area with a 10m long glass wall to complete the spectacular creation, which is the largest leopard enclosure in the world.

YWP Director, John Minion said: “Leopards are great climbers and this design is very unusual as it is not netted or enclosed like most zoo enclosures. This is not necessary here due to the unique fence design, which is 5m high and the top 2m of inward curving plastic is impossible for the leopards to climb.

“The viewing tower itself is unique and means visitors will be able to come eye to eye with a leopard - with no glass or net between them.

“The enclosure is designed to be a breeding facility with, in the future, two additional smaller reserves. The whole area is designed to encourage the leopard’s natural behaviour. Leopards like to go up high, where they feel safe and can and look down.

“Leopard Heights is unique and gives our visitors a unique view of them.”

The three endangered Amur Leopards – Dimitri, Denzil and Drake - were brought to the award-winning YWP in May last year as part of the European Breeding Programme. The Amur leopard is the most endangered big cat in the world and only approximately 30 remain in the wild. The breeding programme is vital to the survival of this charismatic animal.

Now their magnificent new home is open to the public.

Be the first to view it.

Leopard Heights open to the public on Saturday

Amur Leopard fact file:

Ten times more endangered than the Amur tiger, there are only about 30 Amur Leopard left in the wild

Once confined to a small patch of land along the border of Russia and China, Amur leopard is now only found in a small part of southwest Primorskir Krai in Russia. Adapted to snowy winters there, it has a thicker, paler coat than leopards in Africa or India.

The Amur leopards arrived at Yorkshire Wildlife Park from France last May as part of the European Breeding Programme, which aims to save the endangered species.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park, off Warning Tongue Lane, Branton, Doncaster, (SatNav use DN4 6TB)

Yorkshire Wildlife Park