The Silk Road Project – New Home of the Snow Leopard

To mark it’s 55th Anniversary, the Welsh Mountain Zoo – National Zoo of Wales, has revealed plans for a state of the art £1 million development, ‘The Silk Road’.

The project will see a complete redesign of the Zoo’s snow leopard enclosure, to become 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 site, offering panoramic views across the Zoo and to the Carneddau Mountains.

This unique project goes way beyond what is considered to be a typical Zoo project, creating a visually stimulating experience fused with cultural and factual signposting and information.

Nick Jackson, Director at the Welsh Mountain Zoo explains: “Silk Road is an incredibly important project for us that not only gives a new home to our snow leopards, but delves far deeper into the natural habitat and the wider environment in which this species lives.

With our wonderful pair of breeding snow leopards, we have through the years becoming increasingly involved in conservation campaigns and projects to raise awareness of their endangered status, now having made an annual commitment to support the Snow Leopard Trust. 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 .”

In association with Bangor University and the Confucius Institute, the project will  explore and educate visitors on the culture of China. Following on from this an interactive mobile device app will also connect zoo visitors to the project by taking them on a journey down the Silk Road – encountering plants, animals, people, stories, and culture as they explore the connections between the flora and fauna of North Wales and China. Incorporating mixed reality, real-time updates, and gameplay, the app will invite zoo visitors of all ages to step into another world: that of the Silk Road.

Whilst work is set to begin on the project later in the year, a Crowdfunding campaign will be launched next month to support the build programme. The target for this campaign has been set at £200,000 and these funds will be crucial in helping the Zoo meet its £1 million goal for the project as a whole.

Nick added: “We are a forward thinking charity and Silk Road reflects this. The crowdfunder route is an innovative and relatively new conecpt in fundraising and therefore offers strong synergy and good potential with our own ambitions within this project.”

He concluded: “No other zoo or wildlife attraction in the UK (we believe) has taken a similar imaginative leap in combining the zoo community’s traditional offers of biodiversity protection and tourism/ leisure experiences, with the wider macro political and trade interests of two very different nations.”



    Hi we were at your wonderful zoo in the summer this year and I was wondering how the snow leopard enclosure fund was progressing? I have spent some time in the himalayas and actively support the WWF on their snow leopard conservation so I would love to know how you are doing. Thank you in advance as I know you are all very busy .

    • wmz_editor

      Dear Paul,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      The Silk Road, aims to build state of the art accommodation for one of the world’s most vulnerable big cat species (Snow Leopard), while also forging connections with the world’s most important growth economy – China. Although we have finished a crowd funding campaign for this project earlier this year, our fundraising will continue throughout the forthcoming season.

      The project is at an advanced stage of architectural design and has been through the first part of its planning application. It is expected that it will be put to the Conwy County Planning Committee at its January 2019 meeting and if all goes according to plan we hope for completion by late 2019.

      Throughout the process regular updates will be posted on our social media pages and our website using the link below:

      I hope this information helps and I thank you for your continuing support.

      Kind regards,
      Jen Jesse


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *