Dartmoor Zoological Society is launching a campaign to help raise funds to build a new home for critically endangered Amur leopards.

Its ambition is to build a modern, state-of-the-art facility at Dartmoor Zoo to help one of the world’s most vulnerable big cat species thrive and breed.

It will also allow the society to educate and inform its visitors about the threats to habitats and environments across the world, whilst creating an exciting and innovative enclosure that will form an important part of the zoo’s future.

Coral Jonas, chief operating officer at Dartmoor Zoo at Sparkwell, said: ‘We’re incredibly excited to launch a fundraising campaign, which will run for six weeks.

‘We have been working hard to increase the number of threatened species we can help here at Dartmoor Zoo and this year, we will be welcoming our first Amur leopard from a zoo in Europe.

‘It is a privilege to be part of the international breeding programme to help conserve this species and highlight their position in the wild. We would love for you to be a part of this project and help us develop the area where the leopards will live.

‘Please give as generously as you can to help stop these beautiful big cats becoming extinct in our lifetime.’

With approximately 90 remaining in the wild, the remaining population of the Amur leopard is dwindling and occurs in such a small geographical area, that they are at a significant risk of extinction.

Their numbers have rapidly declined due to poaching, habitat loss and deforestation. There are also concerns that the small population results in inbreeding and fewer cubs surviving.

The ‘Protecting Amur Leopards’ project will see our existing quarry enclosure transformed into new accommodation, including a new indoor space and off show facilities. The enclosure itself will be created into a representation of the Amur region, where these leopards originate from, and will be designed to offer visitors a close-up experience with one of the world’s most elusive big cats.

Dartmoor Zoo is investing in the project and with support from local businesses, preparation work has already begun. Additional funding of £30,000 is needed to complete the development ready for the arrival of an Amur leopard later this year.

To donate go to: https://bit.ly/DZSAmurLeopards