San Francisco Zoo & Gardens is pleased to announce the arrival of two Snow Leopard cubs!
The male and female were born on June 7 to mom, Dawa, and father, Jimmy G. This is Dawa's first pregnancy, and San Francisco Zoological Society staff has been closely monitoring the new mom and her cubs. The Zoo reports that Dawa is highly attentive to her cubs.
“As a mother of twins myself, I am overjoyed that we are able to contribute to the survival of this majestic species,” said Tanya Peterson, CEO & Zoo Director of the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens.
The cubs made their public debut in their outdoor enclosure on August 9. Because of their age, the cubs do not currently have a set public schedule and will not be on permanent public display until a later date.
Snow Leopards (Panthera uncia) are from the mountain ranges of South and Central Asia. They are one of the most highly vulnerable big cat species in the world.
The species is currently listed as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). A recent census estimated that there are 7,463 – 7,989 (2016) left in the wild. Illegal poaching is a major threat to their population. They are often killed for their fur and bones, which are used in traditional medicines. Other threats include loss of prey and human conflict, as Snow Leopards sometimes prey on domestic livestock and are killed by herders in retaliation.
The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens has had an active Snow Leopard breeding program since 1958.