Snow Leopard

Name These New Snow Leopard Cubs!


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
  • 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.

Snow Leopard Cubs Show Their Noses For the First Time Today at Akron Zoo


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.


Photo Credits: Akron Zoo

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A First for Akron Zoo: A Pair of Baby Snow Leopards!

4 wks

On May 14, for the first time in its history, Snow Leopard cubs were born at the Akron Zoo in Ohio. The two males are healthy and thriving indoors in a cubbing area with their mother Shanti. Born weighing about 2 pounds, at six weeks old the cubs weigh all of six pounds and their eyes have opened. They are able to walk and are starting to climb too. 

The Animal Care Staff suspected Shanti was pregnant in March and began watching her closely. In the evening of May 13 they started noticing changes in her behavior and began monitoring her via cameras set up indoors at her exhibit for the impending birth. The first cub was born at 4 a.m. on May 14 and the second at 5:51 a.m. Shanti, a first time mom, has been very attentive to the cubs, successfully caring for them on her own. As in the wild their father, Roscoe, does not participate in the rearing process. He will never have direct contact with the cubs. 

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 one has preyed on their livestock. There are only 155 Snow Leopards in the SSP (Species Survival Plan) in the U.S. and there are believed to be as few as 4,000 left in the wild. Only nine cubs have been born at zoos this year as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums SSP. 

Dr. Kim Cook

2 wks
Photo Credit: Akron Zoo

Read more after the jump.

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Triplet Snow Leopard Cubs Only Two Weeks Old!

Snow Leopard Cub Woodland Park Zoo 1

A beautiful display of spots appeared on May 2 at Woodland Park Zoo when triplet Snow Leopards were born to 7-year-old mother Helen. The cubs represent the second litter for Helen and 6-year-old father Tom. Veterinarians performed a neonatal examination today on the cubs, which were confirmed as two females and a male. As you can see, the cubs have still yet to fully open their eyes. The mom and cubs are off public exhibit in a maternal den until mid-July to allow privacy for bonding and proper nursing.

“Helen was an excellent mother to the pair of cubs she gave birth to in 2009 and successfully raised. We’re very pleased to see that she’s nurturing the three cubs very well and that they appear to be progressing normally. They appear to be healthy, their eyes are just now opening and their bellies were full of milk, indicating that they are nursing,” said zoo Director of Animal Health Dr. Darin Collins. The cubs currently weigh between 2.1 and 2.4 pounds.

Snow Leopard Cub Woodland Park Zoo 2

Snow Leopard Cub Woodland Park Zoo 4

Snow Leopard Woodland Park Zoo 7 HeldPhoto credits: Ryan Hawk / Woodland Park Zoo

Snow Leopards are an endangered species. The Snow Leopard is a moderately large cat native to the high mountain ranges of Central Asia and Russia, including in Afghanistan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal and Pakistan. Snow Leopard scientists estimate as few as 3,500 remain in the wild.

More photos and info below the fold

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There's Snow at Philadelphia Zoo - Snow Leopard Cubs That Is!

The Philadelphia Zoo welcomed two Snow Leopard cubs to its growing animal family on June 9 when Maya, the Zoo’s 3-year-old female snow leopard, gave birth to two cubs in the afternoon. This is Maya’s first litter as well as for their father Amga, who is 5-years-old. 

Maya was in constant physical contact with them once they were born, caring for and feeding them. The first 72 hours of the cub’s life are the most critical and monitored closely by the Zoo’s animal and veterinary staff. There is video of them at a very early age after the jump.

Mother and cubs are thriving, and normally the cubs would have made their public debut at around 3 months of age, but it was delayed due minor surgery to correct eyelid abnormalities in October. In this condition, called an upper eyelid coloboma, a portion of the upper eyelid fails to develop properly, leaving a gap at the edge of the eyelid which can lead to eye irritation. The cause of this condition is not well understood, but it occurs in a variety of animals and in humans, and appears to be more common in snow leopards than in other species. The cubs have otherwise developed well, playing, eating, running and jumping normally - see the video of them playing with their mom after the jump.

Nursing crop

Snow 7

W mom


Photo Credit: Philadelphia Zoo

More photos, videos and conservation information after the jump.

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Feisty Snow Leopard Twins Are Cleared To Venture Out


The ABQ BioPark is thrilled to announce the birth of two male Snow Leopards. Kiran and Kalmali, born July 21, 2011, are beginning to venture into their exhibit with their mother, Kachina, on the Zoo’s Cat Walk.

“Kachina is a great mother, very fierce and protective of her cubs,” said Shelly Dicks, Mammal Supervisor. “The cubs are peeking out after her and coming into the exhibit, but still shy when people are watching. However, when we arrive in the morning, it’s clear they’ve been having a grand old time. They’ve torn up the enrichment and made a mess of the exhibit!”



Photo credits: Katie Mast/ABQ BioPark

Snow leopards are endangered, and zoos and conservation organizations around the world are helping to protect them through a Species Survival Plan (SSP). Organized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the SSP helps arrange adult pairs to maintain genetic diversity. Lynn Tupa, ABQ BioPark Zoo Manager, helps to coordinate the snow leopard SSP. Check out the additional photos beneath the fold...

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A Pouncing Pair of Snow Leopard Cubs

Snow cub CU

A pouncing pair of Snow Leopard cubs recently appeared on the scene in their main enclosure at the Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire, England. And they've just gotten a check up by the vets! Born in June, they are yet to be named.

Parents Suou and Irma arrived at Twycross in May 2010 as part of the international breeding program. The birth of the cubs is a significant contribution to the conservation of Snow Leopards which are currently listed as endangered.

Sharon Redrobe Twycross Zoo's Director of Life Sciences said. "I am proud and delighted at this successful first breeding at Twycross Zoo. Our animal staff have worked hard to ensure the best conditions for the snow leopards to breed and their hard work and expertise has paid off in these delightful additions to the European breeding program."

"The dad is not currently in the enclosure with them as they need to be slightly older before he is introduced to them,'she continued, "but he has been chuffing through the separating enclosure - a big cat greeting."




Two snow cubs on rocks
Photo Credit:Twycross Zoo


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Snow Leopard Mom Has Her Paws Full with Triplets!

Snow Leopard Cub Stalking at Zoo Basel

This past week Zoo Basel's furriest new residents began to venture outside of their den for the first time, proving to be bold and curious little cubs. Born April 22nd, the three little Snow Leopard cubs have stayed secluded with mom, Mayhan, in the den for the last two months and these pictures are their first debut to the world. While the cubs are still nursing, they are also getting practice at munching chicken, which appears to be more about having fun than dinner at this stage. In the wild, this shy, mountain dwelling feline is threatened by poaching and suspicious herders. Wild populations are estimated to be only 4,000 - 6,000 making these births all the more important.

Snow Leopards Zoo Basel Climb on Mom 1

Snow Leopard Cub Zoo Basel Profile 3

Snow Leopard Cub Sniffs Mom at Zoo Basel

More incredible photos below the fold!

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A Star Is Born in Chattanooga!


Chattanooga Zoo is happy to announce the arrival of a tiny Snow Leopard cub. Born January 10th, the cub is growing quickly and currently weighs in at around 5 pounds. For some time, zoo keepers weren't even sure that mother Kasmir was pregnant, becuase captive Snow Leopard births are so rare this time of year. These rare Leopards are endangered in the wild, and institutions such as the Chattanooga Zoo play a vital role in building awareness of their plight and that of their threatened mountain habitat.




Photo credits: Chattanooga Zoo


Snow Leopards Cubs Debut in Oklahoma

On May 12th, the Oklahoma City Zoo welcomed two little Snow Leopard cubs but waited until the cubs had had their second round of shots and time to bond with mom before debuting them to the public yesterday. This is the second set of cubs for mother Kiara, who was born at the Tulsa Zoo. Despite being bottle-fed herself, Kiara has proven to be a capable and attentive mother. The cubs are still too young, and the weather too hot, for the cubs to go outside but they will make it out within a few weeks.

Snow leopard cubs oklahoma city zoo 1

Snow leopard cubs oklahoma city zoo 2

Photo credits: Oklahoma City Zoo (see more on their Facebook album)