On June 7, Snow Leopards Dinah and Valo became the parents
of three cubs at Germany’s Zoo Magdeburg.
Photo Credit: Zoo Magdeburg
The cubs – two females and one male – made their public
debut on July 15. More than 15,000
people voted on the zoo’s website to name the cubs! The females are named Aruna and Nela, while
the male is named Otto III, after his two older male siblings.
Magdeburg partners with the Snow Leopard Trust to protect wild
Snow Leopards in northern India’s Spiti Valley. Snow Leopards are Endangered in their native Asian mountain
habitat. Fewer than 7,500 of these rare
and elusive cats are estimated to live in the wild, where they face intense
pressure from illegal hunting and habitat loss.
Marwell Zoo’s three Snow Leopard cubs have taken their first steps outside into their new home. The babies, two male and one female, were born on April 21. Now 12 weeks old, the triplets are enjoying exploring their surroundings, climbing rocks, play fighting, and chasing mom.
Keepers named the female cub Animesh, which means ‘bright’ and
‘to stare open eyed’ in Nepalese, chosen because she opened her eyes
particularly early. One male cub was given the name Ariun, which means ‘pure’ in
Mongolian. Now the keepers are asking the public to help them name the
second male cub. A favorite shortlist of names will be picked by the zoo’s
carnivore keepers and the public can decide their preferred name. The
prize is an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience at the Snow Leopard home.
Photo Credit: Marwell Zoo
These cubs represent something very important. Marwell’s conservation biologist, Heidi
Mitchell, said: “Snow leopards, like all big cat species, are threatened in the
wild. This means that maintaining a healthy captive population of Snow Leopards
is of vital importance to the global conservation strategy for the species.”
Misha the Snow Leopard, born on
May 13, made her public debut this week at the Denver Zoo.
For the last two months, Misha
and her mother Natasha have been bonding behind the scenes. The curious cub is learning to climb, jump, and pounce under the watchful eye of her mother. As the only cub in her litter,
Misha has been getting all the milk she wants and has gained nearly four
pounds since her birth, now tipping the scales at about five pounds. As a full
grown adult, she could weigh around 75 pounds.
Natasha and her mate Himal
were paired under recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Species Survival Plan, which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity
among zoo animals. Although this is Himal’s first cub, Natasha is an
experienced mother, having given birth to cubs in 2005, 2007, and 2008.
Snow Leopards are native to mountainous areas above the tree line in central Asia and in the
Himalayan regions of Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. Snow Leopards are classified as Endangered by the International Union
for Conservation of Nature and
their numbers are decreasing. Major threats to their survival include
poaching for their fur, bones and other body parts, loss of habitat, and
decreasing availability of prey animals. Currently, their wild population is
estimated at between 2,000 and 7,000
baby Snow Leopards born at Zoo
Boise have an important job in a national conservation program. The cubs, a male and a female, were born May 23
to parents Kabita and Tashi, and are the first Snow Leopards ever born at the
Photo Credit: Monte Stiles
their wild counterparts, the cubs are spending their first few weeks in a den
with their mother. As they grow and develop, they will emerge from the den to
explore their exhibit for short periods of time.
a first-time mother, Kabita is doing a fantastic job of caring for the cubs. Zoo
staff members have been giving Kabita as much privacy as possible to ensure
that she does not become stressed and continues to take excellent care of the
The birth of these cubs is a significant achievement for Zoo Boise and for Snow Leopard conservation. Tashi and Kabita were paired as part of the Snow Leopard
Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP is one of the Association of Zoos and
Aquariums’ many conservation programs. The SSP's goal is to maintain a healthy and genetically diverse population and to
protect wild habitats for the species. Snow Leopards are Endangered in their Central Asian mountain habitat.
The Tulsa Zoo welcomed little Niko, an endangered Snow Leopard cub, born on May 10to mother Sherab and father, Rajan. Niko is being hand-reared behind-the-scenes. At 7 weeks of age, he is thriving, and currently weighs more than 6 lbs (2.72kg). Mother Sherab is doing well and is back on exhibit.
Niko’s birth was in conjunction with the Snow Leopard SSP®, or the Species Survival Plan, which manages species in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited zoos across the nation. Ranging in mountainous areas of Central Asia from Afghanistan to Kazakhstan, and Russia to northern India and China, there are only 4,000-6,500 Snow Leopards left in the wild due to poaching and habitat loss.
Photo Credit: Dr. Jen Kilburn
While Niko is doing well, his two siblings did not survive the turbulent first weeks. One cub died during the birthing process and the other died just 9 days later due to bacterial sepsis in its blood. Sherab, an experienced mom, provided excellent care for the cubs in the first 24 hours. However, it soon became apparent that due to complications from the birth, Sherab would need to be moved to the zoo’s veterinary hospital and allow the Tulsa Zoo’s expert staff to hand-raise the Endangered cubs.
On April 29,
three Snow Leopard kittens were born at the Austria’s Zoo Salzburg – the fourth
litter for 11-year-old female Mira and her 12-year-old mate,
Photo Credit: Zoo Salzberg
Snow Leopard cubs are born blind and
weigh about one pound (0.5 kg). About seven days after their
birth, the cubs opened their eyes
and took their first clumsy steps. Mother
Mira is taking excellent care of her offspring, so it’s
not surprising that the cubs doubled their weight in just six weeks.
Snow Leopards are one of the most endangered big cats on earth. Poaching, illegal
trade, and habitat destruction threaten the survival of this majestic cat
species in the wild. Experts estimate that only 3,500-7,000 Snow Leopards
survive in the high mountain regions of Central Asia. Exact figures are not
available, unfortunately, because these animals are rarely seen in their natural
habitat, which is rough and remote.
Though summer has just begun, the Denver Zoo just received a wintery resident, a baby Snow Leopard. Born on May 13th, the zoo's newest resident, a female cub, has been named Misha.
For now, visitors will have to wait to catch a glimpse of Misha as she remains in her mother's den, as she would in the wild, until she gets a little bigger. Once her mother determines it is time for Misha to explore the world, they will venture out together for all to see.
While Misha's mother Natasha is an experienced three time mother (she had offspring in 2005, 2007 & 2008), it is the first offspring for her father Himal. The pair were brought together in Denver in 2010 per a recommendation by the Association of Zoos & Aquarium's Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan with the hopes that they would bear offspring. The pair have valuable genetics, and their reproduction together is a huge boost the captive Snow Leopard population.
Snow Leopards are native to the mountains of central Asia and the Himalayas. They live at high elevations, above the tree line, and have a number of adaptations to survive in this harsh environment. They possess a very well-developed chest, short, powerful limbs, and a long thing tail that help them navigate the steep rocky terrain. Their large paws act as snowshoes, helping them walk along the snowy mountaintops.
Snow Leopards are classified as "endangered" by the IUCN. With a population estimated to be between 2,000 and 7,000 and dropping quickly due to poaching for their fur and habitat loss, every birth is a victory in this species' fight for survival.
Chattanooga Zoo's female Snow Leopard Kasimir gave birth to two cubs on October 2 and zookeepers have shared a few sneak peak pics. The tiny Snow Leopards, a boy and a girl, will go on exhibit Saturday, November 19. Stay tuned for more news and pictures in the coming weeks!
Helsinki Zoo in Finland is known for successfully breeding Snow Leopards -- more than 100 of them since 1960. On June 23, one of their adult females gave birth to three cubs in her her den. All three are girls! The little family was allowed to bond and grow in those first weeks in the protection of the nest, but for the first time they ventured outdoors.
Snow Leopards are an endangered species due to loss of habitat, illegal poaching for their pelts and killings by local herders in an effort to protect their livestock.It is believed that there are as few as 4,000 left in the wild. A tasty treat of a little meat helped lure them into the light outside. Watch the video below. They now weigh about 7-8 pounds or 3-4 kilos, a tribute to the successful care of their mother. Helskini Zoo is also a member of the Snow Leopard Trust.
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:
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.
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.