There's two new furry residents at the Akron Zoo. or the first time its history, two snow leopard cubs were born in May at the Akron Zoo. The cubs are staying indoors for now, spending most of their time with their mother, Shanti. Zoo officials say the cubs will most likely make their way to the exhibit at the end of July or early August. A naming contest will be announced in mid-July and will conclude before the cubs go onto exhibit. 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.
(Press Release - Akron Zoo)
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. 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