The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is always innovating and unveiling new exhibits to both entertain and educate zoo visitors, while at the same time providing better environments and care for the animals that call the zoo home.
In early June this year, the zoo opened a brand new exhibit for their two resident Amur (Siberian) tigers called the Rosebrough Tiger Passage. The new exhibit is five times larger than the previous tiger enclosure and gives zoo visitors a chance to not only see the big cats up close, but also learn about why they are so endangered.
The Tiger Passage exhibit is located in the Wilderness Trek area of the zoo and really can’t be missed.
Upon entering the exhibit, you’re welcomed to the Primorsky Krai forest of eastern Russia, which is currently home to some of the last remaining Amur tigers in the wild – in fact, there are only about 500 of these big cats left in their natural habitat.
Part of the reason the Amur tiger is so endangered is the lost of their forest habitat to deforestation. The next section of the Tiger Passage exhibit plays a recording of chainsaws and other logging machinery and explains why deforestation is so damaging to the tigers. As the forests disappear, so do the animals the tigers usually prey upon like deer and boar.
The main part of the exhibit has four different interconnected areas that reflect the habitat the tigers would live in in the wild: climbing poles that resemble trees, a meadow area, and a shallow stream and soaking pools – because yes, these tigers like water!
There are also two trails that connect the different areas that allow the tigers to pass over the heads of zoo visitors.
Unfortunately, the tigers were having an afternoon nap when I visited, so we didn’t get to see them prowling above our heads. (If you want the chance to see this, big cats are often most active early in the morning and again in the evening just before sunset.)
The best part of the Tiger Passage exhibit (aside from the cats themselves) is all the information provided about the plight of the Amur tiger and what the Cleveland Zoo and their partners are trying to do about it.
You learn about the field teams in Russia who try to stop both illegal logging and tiger poaching, and also a bit about efforts to stop illegal wildlife trade as a whole. This illegal trade in tiger meat, skin, and bones is another reason that tigers are so endangered in the wild. To learn more about these programs, the Zoo directs people to FutureForWildlife.org/tigers.
The Rosebrough Tiger Passage is a great example of how the Cleveland Zoo is innovating the zoo experience while also educating visitors on wildlife conservation efforts.
If you’re heading to the Cleveland Zoo soon, be sure to check out Tiger Passage. Click Here to Learn more.