The snow leopard cubs that were born at the Akron Zoo on May 14 will make their first public appearance today, Monday, August 13, from 10:15 –10:45 a.m. Visitors will get to enjoy seeing the babies as they get their first forays out into the sun under the watchful eye of mom Shanti. They will continue to be on exhibit everyday during those hours for the time being until they are bigger and can be out longer.
Currently at 12 weeks old the cubs weigh about 12 pounds and are thriving. According to their primary keeper, Sarah Kirkman, “The cubs are starting to act more and more like snow leopards. They have displayed great balance just in the past week or two and have been climbing and jumping and becoming a lot more adventurous. Their mom, Shanti, has been doing wonderfully with them and has been great at tolerating them climbing all over her and is very playful with them.”
There is a naming contest for the babies:The Zoo has narrowed the choices down to five and people can vote for two of the five names on the Akron Zoo website through August 20. Read more about this and see what the name choices are after the fold.
Snow leopards are an endangered species and only nine cubs have been born this year that are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) in the United States. Snow leopards are an endangered species primarily due to loss of habitat, illegal poaching for their pelts and body parts and killings by local herders when a snow leopard has preyed on their livestock. There are only 155 snow leopards in the SSP in the U.S. and there are believed to be as few as 4,000 left in the wild.