Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Baby snow leopards advance conservation efforts at Zoo Boise

Two baby snow leopards born recently at Zoo Boise have an important job in a national species survival plan.


The cubs were born May 23 to parents Kabita and Tashi. They are the first snow leopards born at Zoo Boise. 

Like snow leopards in the wild, the cubs have been spending their first few weeks in a den with their mother.  As they continue to grow and develop, they will slowly emerge from the den to explore their exhibit for short periods of time.  Visitors to the zoo may be able to catch glimpses of the cubs as they begin to explore more.

As a first-time mother, Kabita is doing a fantastic job of caring for the cubs -- one male and one female, according to Dr. Holly Peters, Zoo veterinarian.  Zoo staff member have been giving Kabita as much privacy as possible to ensure that she does not become stressed and continues to take excellent care of the cubs.

The birth of these cubs is a significant achievement for Zoo Boise and snow leopard conservation.  Tashi and Kabita were paired up as part of the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP is one of the Association of Zoos and Aquarium's many conservation programs. Its primary role is to serve as a breeding program for selected endangered or threatened speices.

The goal is to maintain a healthy and genetically diverse population for these animals in order to increase their numbers and be able to reintroduce certain zoo-bred animals into their natural habitats, if necessary.

The cubs are part of a mini baby boom occurring at Zoo Boise. Since April, a mangabey monkey, porcupines, skunks and a serval kitten have been born at the zoo.

Zoo Boise invites the community to "Keep Your World Wild"; the zoo turns the act of visiting the zoo into a conservation action. Zoo Boise is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, a national organization that supports excellence in animal care, conservation, education and science.  Located in Julia Davis Park, Zoo Boise is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through Labor Day. For more information, see or call (208) 384-4260.