The Akron Zoo today released a video and photos of the second pair of endangered snow leopards to be born at the zoo. The male and female siblings were born on April 14 and are currently off exhibit and indoors in a cubbing area with their mother, Shanti. A naming contest will be announced in a few weeks.
The cubs will remain indoors until they go onto exhibit, most likely at the end of June or early July. The cubs currently weigh about 6 pounds; at birth they weighed around 1.5 pounds each. At 6-weeks-old the cubs’ eyes are open and they are able to walk and are starting to climb.
Since her last pregnancy, Shanti had been trained by staff, through protected contact, to allow them to perform ultrasounds. Once staff suspected she was pregnant they performed weekly ultrasounds to monitor the cubs' development.
The zoo was also able to train Shanti to sit during x-rays so the cubs development could be even more closely monitored.
This is Shanti and father, Roscoe’s, second successful litter at the Akron Zoo. Two male cubs, Raj and Sabu, were born at the zoo in 2012 and currently live at the Binder Park Zoo in Michigan and The Roger Williams Park Zoo in Rhode Island, respectively.
Roscoe will be on exhibit everyday 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 11-years-old and came to the Akron Zoo in 2004 from the San Antonio Zoo and Aquarium. Shanti is five-years-old and came to the Akron Zoo from the Binder Park Zoo in 2009.
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 less than 150 snow leopards in the United States and there are believed to be as few as 4,000 left in the wild.
The Akron Zoo is open 361 days a year. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is $11 for adults, $9 for senior citizens, $8 for children (ages 2-14). Children under two are free and parking is $3. For more information visit www.akronzoo.org or call 330-375-2550.
Founded in 1953, the Akron Zoo is a non-profit, world conservation zoo with more than 700 animals from around the world.