Leopard tunnel system (coming soon)

Tunnel system for leopards - drawing

What we are doing

Copenhagen Zoo has long recognised the need to improve the facilities for their Amur Leopards, to give more space and provide opportunities for enrichment. To this end, HMJ Design is building a tunnel system of +100 meters, which will give the leopards access to an elevated viewpoint where they can observe a large part of the park and surrounding exhibit.
The tunnel will have sections that are placed directly on the terrain in between tall grasses and shrubs, to provide an environment, where the animals can remains semi-hidden, but also swaying sections that are suspended high above the terrain, which will stimulate balance and exercise small and large muscle groups.
The main technical challenge of the project is to solve the statical aspect associated with building this tunnel system on the roof of another partially subterranean building, namely the iconic Elephant House: The tunnel has to be strong and stable enough to safely support the animals, while being light enough to stay within the safe working loads of the building. This is solved through coordination of our design and engineering capability while consulting with a number of engineering firms that were originally involved in the construction of the Elephant House.
HMJ Design was chosen as main contractor to drive the project forward in close cooperation with the zoo, during the different phases:
  • Initial idea generation & sketching phases
  • Providing architectural visualisations for awareness and fundraising
  • Research concerning the safety and welfare aspects and EAZA guidelines for keeping big cats
  • Interviewing stakeholders concerning functional needs -> Implementation
  • Planning phase, including engineering work & construction details
  • Production and delivery of all materials
  • Construction and installation


You can read more about the project on Copenhagen Zoo’s website here.

Leopard tunnel system - drawing

The raw details


Turnkey project: Design, engineering, planning & execution of all elements: Foundation systems, structural steel, cables, steel netting. Remotely controlled gates. Ensuring compliance with EAZA Best Practice Guidelines. Ensuring stakeholders are represented in the design process.


May 2024 – Autumn 2024


Winter-Spring 2024-25


Spring 2025


100 meter tunnel system x 1,10 meter diameter. ~15 M2 elevated viewing point pavillon. 2 suspended bridges spanning 6-8 meters.

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