November 22, 1013
The Staten Island Zoological Society unveiled a new 4,500-square-foot exhibit for the Zoo’s critically endangered Amur leopards at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Zoo’s West Brighton campus. Amur leopards are considered the world’s rarest big cat, with fewer than 40 existing in their native habitat in the Amur River Valley along the border of Russia and China. Three Amur leopards—Valeri, Kolya, and Fitty—will reside in the new exhibit.
“This exhibit is the latest example of how Staten Island has become a world-class destination – and an even better place to live. Soon to be joined by a brand new carousel and renovated aquarium, this expanded habitat for the three Amur Leopards marks an another step forward for the Zoo, for Staten Island and for the whole City,” stated Mayor Michael Bloomberg during the ceremony.
The 175,000 annual visitors to the zoo will get the chance to see these leopards up close as they jump, climb, swim and roam their custom-built habitat; a heated rock next to a small pool provides warmth and recreation throughout all seasons. Both the exhibit and the carousel were designed by Slade Architecture as part of the Department of Design and Construction’s Design Excellence program.
“Staten Island now has one of the largest exhibits in the nation for some of the rarest cats in the world: Amur leopards,” said DDC Commissioner David Burney. “We’re proud to have delivered an opportunity for New Yorkers to see these magnificent animals in an environment that’s sensitive to the leopards’ mental and physical health. The new exhibit allows the leopards to climb and explore, while offering an immersive experience for visitors. We’re delighted to have worked with the Staten Island Zoo, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and Slade Architecture on this terrific new exhibit.”