Assiniboine Park Zoo

First Photos of Snow Leopard Cubs at Assiniboine Park Zoo

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Assiniboine Park Zoo, in Canada, recently released the first photos of two Snow Leopard cubs born at the zoo on May 15.  The yet-to-be-named males are healthy and each weighed a little over 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs). 

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3_150528 177aPhoto Credits: Assiniboine Park Zoo

According to staff, it will be another 8 weeks before the duo goes on exhibit. They are currently under the care of six-year-old mom Batu. The boys are the second litter for Batu and her 5-year-old mate Henry James. Their first twins, Raj and Kovo, were born in 2013 and still reside at the Winnipeg zoo.

The Snow Leopard is native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. They are insulated by thick hair, and their wide, fur-covered feet act as natural snowshoes. Their powerful legs enable them to be tremendous leapers, and they are able to jump as far as 50 feet. Their long tails provide balance.

Snow Leopards are powerful predators and can kill animals three times their weight. Unfortunately, they also have a taste for domestic animals and this has led to killings of the leopards by herders and farmers.

The Snow Leopard is currently listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  As of 2003, there were only estimated to be a global population of 4,080 to 6,590 adults, of which fewer than 2,500 may reproduce in the wild. The main factors contributing to their demise in the wild are: poaching for illegal trades in pelts and body parts, habitat destruction, and killings by indigenous herders. There are approximately 600 Snow Leopards in zoos around the world.

Rescued Polar Bear Cub Makes a Splash at Assiniboine Park Zoo

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Assiniboine Park Zoo’s newest Polar Bear is comfortably settling into her new home less than 24 hours after arriving on October 28 from Churchill. Officials from the zoo, located in Winnipeg, Canada, travelled to northern Manitoba to rescue the female cub after she was found wandering alone near the airport last week. 

Believed to be 11 months-old, the 94-pound (38 kg) cub wouldn’t have otherwise survived on her own, as Polar Bears rely on protection from their mothers for up to two years. Now that she’s at Assiniboine Park Zoo's International Polar Bear Conservation Centre (IPCC), the wild bear seems to feel right at home: she is eating well on her own, playing with enrichment toys, and splashing around in her kiddie pool. For the next 30 days, she will remain in quarantine, as is zoo standard procedure. This will allow close monitoring of her health and ensure that the new bear will not pass on any pathogens when she is eventually introduced to the two other bears at the zoo. Besides a few broken teeth and some bumps, she is generally in good condition, and does not appear to be stressed by her new surroundings. 

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4 polar bearPhoto credits: Assiniboine Park Zoo

See a video of the curious bear as she investigates her new surroundings:
See a news story about the bear:
The yet-unnamed bear is the third resident bear at the zoo and could eventually be placed into a breeding program to help conserve wild Polar Bears. She will be the center's first resident female, and their first orphaned rescue. 

"It's one of those feel-good stories that we can save her. It's a shame that you have an animal like this that you have to take from the wild, but with no chance of survival, it's the only thing that makes sense," says Don Peterkin, chief operations officer for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy. "The IPBCC was built for orphaned cubs. We recognized that there would be other needs, but we all have a soft spot for an 11-month-old cub who has lost Mom and has no chance of survival in the wild at all. She's just too young to ever hope to survive on her own." 

“Without the Center here, the options are fairly limited. We have tried in the past to adopt out orphan cubs with a mother and one cub, but those attempts have all failed,” says Dr. Jim Duncan of Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship.

The International Polar Bear Conservation Centre opened almost two years ago and is part of the larger Journey to Churchill exhibit that is still under construction, but is expected to open in the summer of 2014. The Centre has outdoor habitats for the polar bears as well. Eventually the three resident bears will move into one of the larger outdoor Polar Bear habitats in Journey to Churchill. The zoo is also looking at a fourth bear from Argentina that may join the others as early as the spring.

Assiniboine Park Zoo Announces Gender of Snow Leopard Cubs


These wide-eyed Snow Leopard twins, born on June 29 at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, have completed their initial neonatal exams. Both were deemed to be healthy male cubs. The pair has been off-exhibit since birth to give them the necessary time to bond with their mother, Batu, and to receive proper veterinary care. Mom and her cubs will remain there for another 3-4 weeks, until the cubs are ready to start pawing about their habitat on their own. 

“Both cubs are doing exceptionally well and growing more and more each day,” said Gary Lunsford, Acting Director of Zoological Operations at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. “We expect that within the next few weeks, they’ll start exploring on their own, at which point we’ll be able to announce a date for their public debut.”



Photo Credit: Assiniboine Park Zoo

Both of the zoo’s adult Snow Leopards are first-time parents. Batu is just over four years old and arrived at the zoo in June 2011 from the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, while the three-year-old father, Henry James, came from the Tulsa Zoo in September of the same year.

Twin Cubs' First Frolic in the Sun

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Visitors to the Assiniboine Park Zoo on Monday got to take in a special sight.Two Siberian tiger cubs, born on July 29 at the zoo, were on the prowl, making their first public appearance.

"At eight weeks these guys were about seven and a half, eight kilos," said Chris Enright, senior veterinarian.  "They'll get more and more confident, and come up a lot closer. So I'm sure people will have plenty of photo opportunities coming up," said Tim Sinclair-Smith from the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

The public is invited to participate in naming the twins. Visit the Zoo's Facebook page to vote.

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Roly + Poly Red Panda Cubs!

Two roly-poly little Red Panda cubs were born mid-June at the Assiniboine Park Zoo to proud panda parents Slash and Dash. Since Dash abandoned her young last year, a decision was made to hand-raise the two female cubs rather than risk losing them, as the Red Panda is an endangered species.  There are only 8,000 surviving Red Pandas in the Himalayas of China and adjacent countries -- the result of poaching and loss of over 50% of their habitat from forest destruction and fragmentation. 

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(Above) Steele on the left and Robyn on the right

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Red panda cubs assiniboine park zoo 1b

Red panda cubs assiniboine park zoo 1b

(Below) The cubs at 1 week!

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Photo credits: Assiniboine Park Zoo

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Manitoba Kangaroo Baby Is out of Her Pouch

Earlier this month, at the Assiniboine Park Zoo this tiny red kangaroo was accidentally ejected from her Mom's pouch. Caregivers at the Zoo have fashioned a fleece "pouch" and are administering a solution which mimics Mom's milk. It was impossible to determine which of the female's had lost her joey, without causing stress to the animals. With the help of the Zoo's staff, this baby Kangaroo will bounce back!




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