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CLEVELAND– It’s an exciting day for the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. They’re starting construction on a new tiger exhibit that will open next year.

“This exhibit is going to replace an exhibit that was built in 1965. It’s going to quadruple the amount of space our cats have, but more importantly, it’s going to have some great complexity,” explained Dr. Chris Kuhar, zoo executive director.

He said the tigers are currently staying in another area, but will be moved back to the site once everything is finished.

“These are Amur tigers, you may know them as Siberian Tigers, but they’re a cat that’s native to eastern Russia and the forest of eastern Russia. So a very cold-weather cat and they’re perfect for the environment here in Cleveland,” he said.

The new layout is a lot bigger and gives the tigers more space to run around. It’s also more interactive for the guests. They’ll be able to walk through the exhibit on winding trails.

“We really wanted to make sure that the tigers were super visible. Tigers like to be high, so we wanted to make sure they had some perches and we came up with an idea of overhead shifts that they can shift from yard to yard. Currently, they really only had one area where people could see them. We now have four yards,” said Jill Akins, one of the designers.

She said safety was their top priority when it came to panning for this.

While everyone is looking forward to the new exhibit, Kuhar wants to be sure their message about conservation isn’t forgotten.

“We want to be able to create an inspiring conservation message that gets people excited and wanting to help. That’s really what we’re all about is creating action and we think this exhibit is going to be a great way to do that,” he said.

To learn more about the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, click here