MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — This week, the Roosevelt Park Zoo in Minot will be celebrating the grand opening of their new Amur leopard habitat — and the public is invited to take part.

The Amur leopard is one of the most endangered animals in the world — being listed as not only a critically endangered species by the World Wildlife Federation, but also having a place on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “Red List” of threatened species. Currently, it is estimated that there are only 180 of these unique animals in captivity, and less than 100 in the wild. As such, it’s important to give an endangered species like the Amur leopard not only a safe place to live, but one where they can survive, thrive, and possibly continue the species.

The rebuilding of their complex is the final phase in a project focusing on community investment in the Roosevelt Park Zoo. In addition to the Amur leopard exhibit, the Amur tiger and African lion habitats have also received major upgrades in previous years. Altogether, these three habitats represent an investment of nearly $9 million from the Minot Park District, major donors, and zoo patrons.

The new habitat is designed to resemble a temperate forest, and features many additions that will be exciting to both the leopards and guests who come to view them. Some aspects of the enclosure include the following:

  • Five yards
  • Outdoor climbing spaces
  • An overhead catwalk connection
  • Framed opportunities for guest viewing, including two child-sized spaces
  • Two large glass viewing windows

Landscaping will finish construction of the new habitat early in the summer, creating a massive natural space with rocks and grass. While the zoo’s resident Amur leopard Clover has already moved into the location, the space is large enough for more big cats, and additional Amur leopards are expected to arrive soon.

The ribbon cutting will be hosted by the Roosevelt Park Zoo in conjunction with Minot Area Chamber EDC Ambassadors, and take place on Friday, May 5 at noon. For more information on the Roosevelt Park Zoo, visit their website here.