Hercules Snow Leopard


Hercules Snow Leopard

Male Snow Leopard

DOB 6/97 – 1/29/2010

The Species Survival Plan (SSP) is an organized effort of the AZA accredited zoos to propagate endangered species in captivity so that none are taken from the wild.  Sometimes a particular gene pool will become unbalanced as some lines breed more successfully than others.  This creates a “surplus” of an endangered species, meaning that there are too many with the same blood lines.  These surplus cats are removed, temporarily, from the program until the other bloodlines catch up.  Our Snow Leopards were surplus from the Species Survival Plan and that is why we are not breeding them.  At Big Cat Rescue our philosophy is that NO wild animal should be bred for life in a cage.

Hercules came to Big Cat Rescue on  6/6/97, along with his mate Cloe.  The Snow Leopard Lair is a “triplex” with over 1800 square feet of living space for each cat and a simulated snow covered rocky ledge wall that encloses their dens, which are air conditioned year round.  The Snow Leopards are given only purified water as they would have had glacier run off in their native lands.

Listen to Hercules as he chuffs to his visitors:

In January 2010, Hercules was treated for a cyst on his throat, but it turned out to be a fast growing tumor that obstructed deep in his esophagus up to his mouth, causing him to have labored breathing. Nothing could be done to treat the cancer and he was euthanized while under anesthesia on Jan. 29, 2010 and is greatly missed by all of us.

Tributes to Hercules the Snow Leopard

I’m so sad by this post, I will miss Hercules very much. I really enjoyed taking my tours by him. he was stunning, powerful, gracefull, magnificent & adorable. He will be missed !! Kim, Volunteer Keeper

I can not even express how sad I am, much beloved, most beautiful boy – we will never forget you..Becky, Volunteer Senior Keeper

Oh my… another hit to the solar plexus! I will miss this beautiful boy so very much! I could not agree with Kim more. I will also miss his ‘hiding’ and ‘stalking’ while cleaning his enclosure. I will also miss the intake gasp of breath from tour guests when they first spotted him. His life and the story of his species made such an impression on our guests. I hope that many of them will try what they can to save the Snow Leopards in wild. We are going to miss you so…Lisa, Volunteer Senior Keeper

Hercules was my first love when i came to b.c.r 7 years ago,i am so grateful that i took the time to stop and visit him on Wensday and to tell him i loved him not thinking it was my last to look into his beautiful eyes.R.I.P my sweet Hercules….Kym, Volunteer Keeper

I am heart broken. I loved hercules, even though he never really showed me much interest. I fell in love with him on my first tour many years ago. I always look for him on those cold mornings, enjoying our short cold spells. I will miss him so much. You are so majestic…BethAnn, Volunteer Keeper

Today was a very sad day! Our most beautiful boy left us for a long journey to heaven! I hope he never forgets us, because we will never him! Go free Hercules, you can bite your foot anytime you want now..Marie, Volunteer Senior Keeper

I had the pleasure of watching Jen R. do operant with Herc one day; what a real pleasure that was. I saw him turn from the sweet docile Herc I always knew to the super-aggressive and intense wild boy inside.

He was one of my favorites, and I’m very sad to see him go.

I will miss you Herc….Meredith, Volunteer Keeper

Herc and I shared our love/hate moments.. the hate being on his part. When I first started cleaning him he completely ignored me with the occasional stalking. These last few days have been the hardest, not just for all volunteers, but for those who had fed him, done operant with him, or have cleaned him for many years. My heart goes out to you all in this sad time. It’s never easy working around animals, and it never will be. Herc now is free. He has endless mountains with snow to explore, and he will no longer be confined to captivity. Bye Snow man…Shiloh, Volunteer Senior Keeper

i will never forget my second day of volunteering at BCR 12 years ago, coming around a corner and literally running into Hercules. He was a playful, young cat out for a walk on a leash. Those were some interesting days. He would slink past all the other cages showing off. Thankfully those days came to an end, but I can still remember the feeling of my racing heart that day. Yikes! Now he is cage free and leash free…Cathy, Volunteer Coordinator/Master Keeper

Hercules, “Mr. Intensity”, spent his last days next to his beloved “Lion”. You were an icon at BCR, and will be missed by all…Barbara, Volunteer Master Keeper

Our tears seem to spring from a bottomless pit. Each cat is so special at BCR, but some are just iconic to our organization. We’ll never walk down the path without seeing and feeling Hercules’ spirit. He defined the core of what we are, who we are, and why we exist. He was trapped in a prison cell through no fault of his own and he, more than any other cat, reminded us of that every single day we gazed at his beauty. His loss is gut wrenching and I’m afraid we can’t help but all walk around in a state of shock for some time to come….Julie, Volunteer Senior Keeper

Herc was one of the most beautiful cats of all time. I always said if I had the money I was going to rent a snow making machine for a day and make a big pile of snow for him to play in. I would have loved to see that, but it’s too late now. Hard to believe he isn’t there. He will be greatly missed..Willow, Volunteer Keeper

I’m going to miss you Herc. you’re beauty has inspired me since my first tour many years ago. i know that you are free now and that lightens my heavy heart…Vanessa, Volunteer Keeper

What a beautiful, beautiful boy! It was a special treat every time I got to see him. I Will miss him very much! What a beautiful picture Shiloh put in my head though, “endless mountains with snow to explore” and Herc…Sue, Volunteer Keeper

Oh Herc, how my heart breaks. I will greatly miss his “Elvis” lip….the look he always gave me. The weird sound he always made when i would clean his enclosure, and his “Intense” look. He was a beautiful boy and one of my favorites for sure. Run free Herc and climb the mountains you were meant to climb… you will be missed…Regina, Volunteer Senior Keeper
There are no words to express my extreme sadness. He was such a magnificent creature and always the highlight of my tours. I was always so happy to see him even if it was just that handsomest head peering out from the opening of his den. I am so glad he came out for the last tour I gave before going to Antarctica and thought how awesome he would be on the mountains there. I will miss him greatly…Deborah, Volunteer Keeper

More Memorials at https://bigcatrescue.org/category/memorials/

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