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Snow leopards at L.A. Zoo get holiday enrichment

December 22, 2009

Holiday gifts for fuzzy-faced leopard cubs

REAL SNOW CATS: A snow leopard plays with a cardboard cutout at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens on December 18. A pair of rare snow leopard cubs and their mother were given Christmas packages containing treats and cardboard cutout decorations to investigate as part of the zoo’s behavioral enrichment program, which uses the natural behaviors of animals to keep them active and healthy.

The cubs were born at the zoo on May 26 to a cat named Asia. Native to remote high mountains in Asia, only about 5,000 to 7,000 snow leopards are believed to remain in the wild.

The cats can tolerate temperature extremes ranging from 40 degrees below zero to as high as 104 degrees.

They can leap 45 feet and kill prey that is two- to three-times their size. Snow leopards are at the top of the food chain and considered an indicator species and ecosystems that support a large number of snow leopards are believed to be healthy.

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/features/mutts/blog/2009/12/holiday_gifts_for_fuzzyfaced_l.html

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Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org