Two snow leopard cubs born at the Akron Zoo | News
AKRON, Ohio – For the first time in its history snow leopard cubs have been born at the Akron Zoo. Two male cubs were born on May 14, 2012. Both cubs are healthy and thriving and are currently off exhibit, indoors in a cubbing area with their mother. They will remain indoors until they go onto exhibit, most likely at the end of July or early August. 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.
Animal Care Staff at the zoo suspected the female snow leopard, Shanti, was pregnant in March and began monitoring her closely. In the evening of May 13 they started noticing changes in her behavior and began monitoring her via cameras that were 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 cub was born at 5:51 a.m. Shanti, who is a first time mother, has been very attentive to the cubs and has been caring for them on her own. The cubs currently weigh about 6 lbs.; at birth they weighed around 2 lbs. each. At six weeks old now the cubs’ eyes are open and they are able to walk and are starting to climb.
The father of the cubs, Roscoe, who is also a first time father, will be on exhibit everyday at the zoo until Shanti and the cubs start to go out onto exhibit. As in the wild the father does not participate in the rearing process. He will never have direct contact with the cubs. Roscoe is 9 years old and came to the Akron Zoo in 2004 from the San Antonio Zoo and Aquarium. Shanti is four years old and came to the Akron Zoo from the Binder Park Zoo in 2009.
A naming contest will be announced in mid-July and will conclude before the cubs go onto exhibit.
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. Snow leopards cannot roar. Instead of roaring, the snow leopard makes noises like hissing, mewing, chuffing, growling and wailing. Snow leopards can leap farther than any other cat, reaching distances of well over forty feet in a single bound.
The Akron Zoo is open 361 days a year. The Akron Zoo hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and admission is $10 for adults, $8.50 for senior citizens, $7 for children (ages 2-14). Children under two are free and parking is $2. For more information visit http://www.akronzoo.org/ or call (330) 375-2550.
Founded in 1953, the Akron Zoo is a non-profit, world conservation Zoo with over 700 animals from around the world. Located just west of Downtown Akron, the Zoo strives to provide a dynamic, financially responsible, guest centered animal experience that is energized by innovation and fun. The Akron Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats.