On May 4, Zoo Krefeld, in Germany, welcomed two new Snow Leopards. The two females were born to dad, Patan, and mom, Dari.
Patan and Dari’s first offspring, Shan, was born in 2013 and now resides at Highland Wildlife Park, in Scotland. Zoo visitors can see the newest cubs as they explore their outdoor facilities.
The Snow Leopard is native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. They prefer alpine and subalpine zones and elevations from 9,800 to 14,800 feet (3,000 to 4,500 m). In the northern range countries, they also occur at lower elevations.
Snow Leopards are slightly smaller than other big cats and have a relatively short body, measuring in length from head to tail 30 to 50 inches (75 to 130 cm). However, their tail is quite long, at 31 to 39 inches (80 to 100 cm).
Their fur is long and thick, and their base color varies from smoky gray to yellowish tan, with white underparts. They have dark gray to black open rosettes on their bodies, with small spots of the same color on their heads and larger spots on their legs and tails. Their eyes are pale green or gray in color.
The Snow Leopard cannot roar, despite possessing partial ossification of the hyoid bone. Instead, their vocalizations consist of hisses, chuffing, mews, growls, and wailing.
Adults are somewhat elusive and solitary, except for females and cubs. Snow Leopards have a gestation period of 90 to 100 days, with the offspring generally born in April to June. The mothers prefer secluded, rocky dens for birth and rearing. The litter sizes vary from one to five cubs. Newly born cubs have full black spots, which turn into rosettes as they grow to adolescence. Cubs leave their den at around two to four months of age, but they remain with the mother until around 18 to 22 months.
The Snow Leopard is listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. As of 2003, the size of the global population was estimated at 4,080 to 6,590 adults, of which fewer than 2,500 individuals may reproduce in the wild.
Zoo Krefeld is a supporter of the Snow Leopard Trust, a Seattle-based organization that endeavors to “build community partnerships by using sound science to determine priorities for protecting the endangered Snow Leopard.” For more information, check out the Snow Leopard Trust’s website: www.snowleopard.org
More pics below the fold!