Syracuse, New York's Rosamond Gifford Zoo is proud to announce the birth of its first Snow Leopard cubs in 14 years! Born June 14th to parents Zena and Senge, the cubs are set to be on exhibit daily from 11 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. To mark the rare occasion, Rosamond Gifford Zoo is inviting the public to participate in a contest for the cubs.
Guidelines for the Snow Leopard cub naming contest:
- Entrants may submit name suggestions via the zoo website at www.rosamondgiffordzoo.org/naming-contest.
- Suggestions must be received by 4:00 p.m. on August 22.
- Preference will be given to names that originate from languages of the Snow Leopards’ native countries (Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and possibly also Myanmar).
- Entrants must complete all fields on the entry form; incomplete entries will not be considered.
- The contest is open to those 5 and older.
- Each entrant may submit two name suggestions – one per cub.
- A committee at the zoo will select the top names of those suggested.
- The top names will be posted on the zoo’s web site from August 27 through August 30 and the public will vote on their favorites.
- The winning names will be announced at the zoo on September 4.
Photo credits: Amelia Beamish
Snow Leopards are part of a Species Survival Plan (SSP)—a collaborative effort between the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and zoos around the world to help ensure their survival. Snow Leopards are perfectly adapted to the cold, barren landscape of their high-altitude home, but human threats have created an uncertain future for the cats. It is estimated that there are between 4,000 and 6,500 Snow Leopards left in the wild. There are currently 137 Snow Leopards in 63 zoos in the United States. As first time parents, Zena and Senge are genetically valuable within the captive population and will likely have the opportunity to breed again in the future.
Snow Leopards are found in the mountains of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and possibly also Myanmar (Burma). They prefer steep, rugged terrain with cliffs, ridges, gullies and slopes interspersed with rocky outcrops. The cat’s habitat is among the least productive of the world’s rangelands due to low temperatures, high aridity and harsh climatic conditions. Very little is known about the social behavior of Snow Leopards in the wild.