A ZOO is marking its 55th anniversary with a new £1 million development entitled The Silk Road.

The unique project - at the Colwyn Bay attraction - will see a complete redesign of the zoo's snow leopard enclosure. Forging links with China and the Himalayan mountains, The Silk Road will give a nod to Chinese culture, language, environment and species that originate from there.

The enclosure will offer visitors a nose to nose visual experience through glass and an elevated walkway will journey around the site.

Nick Jackson, director at the Welsh Mountain Zoo, said: "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."

An interactive mobile device app will also be created. Visitors can journey down the Silk Road and experience plants, animals, people, stories and culture as well as the connections between the flora and fauna of North Wales and China.

Work is set to begin on the project later in the year. A Crowdfunding campaign, with a target of £200,000, will be launched next month to support the build programme. The funds will be "crucial "in helping the zoo meet its £1 million goal for the project as a whole.

Nick added: "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."

To register interest in the crowdfunder, visit www.welshmountainzoo.org