Kyoto zoo has opened a new section dedicated to cats — mostly big, fierce cats.
The cat area is not like a conventional zoo area where visitors observe animals at a distance through bars and across pits.
The cat zone, named Moju World, is the second phase of an initiative by the zoo to get visitors closer to the animals, provide more information, and importantly in a way that took the welfare of the animals into account. Granted, their welfare may be better served if they were in the wild.
The zone is arranged so that the visitor can experience the animals as if they were in their natural habitat — glass replaces cages and there are overhead walkways and cages which depart from the traditional mode of observing animals in a zoo.
In addition to the tigers and jaguars, the zoo has introduced Tsushima leopard cats, natives of Nagasaki prefecture. These cats are under intense pressure in the wild and the zoo is hoping to become a breeding centre for the animal.
Check their website for opening times and access.