Syracuse, NY -- Two male snow leopard cubs made their public debut this morning at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.

"They are doing great," said Ted Fox, zoo director. "It's been 14 years since the last snow leopard cubs were born at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo."

The cubs were born June 14 to parents, Zena and Senge. They weighed about 1 pound at birth and weigh about 8 pounds today.

“They are kittens now, but we won’t be able to handle them for much longer,” Fox said as two zoo staff members carried the cubs out for the public to see for the first time.

“A couple more days is all we have,” he said. “They are like any other wild animal.”

The last snow leopard cubs born at the zoo were in 1998 when Tian and Nema were born. The previous year, in 1997, Ruka was first snow leopard cub born at the zoo.

“Zena and Senge are young and we hope to have more litters from them in the future,” Fox said. This is Zena and Senge’s first litter.

Fox said there are only 137 snow leopards in 63 zoos in the United States and there were only four other zoos in the country that had cubs born this year.

The cubs have yet to be named and the zoo is asking the public to participate in a naming contest to celebrate the zoos latest arrivals. Name suggestions must be received on the zoo’s website, by 4 p.m. Aug. 22.

“We know how much the community enjoys participating in the naming of our animals and look forward to their involvement,” Fox said.

Fox said the zoo prefers names that originate from languages of the snow leopards’ native countries. The contest is open to those 5 years old and older and each entry can submit two name suggestions – one per cub. A committee at the zoo will select the top names and they will be listed on the zoo’s website from Aug. 27 to 30. The public will vote and the winning names will be announced Sept. 4 at the zoo.

The cubs will be on display from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. daily. Special mesh, funded by Friends of the Zoo, has been set up in the snow leopards exhibit to make it safe for the cubs. Fox said the cubs will be most active in the fall as they mature. Snow leopards reach maturity between 2 and 3 years old.

Fox said the cubs will likely be relocated to other zoos in the spring.

Snow leopards are found in the mountains of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and possibly also Myanmar. It is estimated that there are between 4,000 to 6,500 snow leopards left in the wild.

There has been an array of births at the zoo this past year. A patas monkey was born in March, two fennec foxes were born in the early summer and a bunch of yellow spotted Amazon River turtles hatched in April.

Fox said the spike in births has increased attendance over the past few months.

“It’s been great and we hope to see more people out here,” he said.(SOURCE)

VIDEO Baby Snow Leopards Make Debut

Responses to "2 snow leopard cubs born (PHOTOS- VIDEO)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    How cute. Blessings :-)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just gorgeus Would love to pet one ;-)

  3. Anonymous says:


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