The lone Amur leopard at the Oregon Zoo is alone no more. Sixteen-year-old Frederick has a zoo mate: an 11-year-old female Amur leopard from Erie Zoo in Pennsylvania who was seen by the public for the first time today. Kia and Frederick are not together for breeding purposes. Rather, Oregon Zoo, which is part of the species survival program for Amur leopards, took Kia to give Erie Zoo space for its breeding program. The cats, native to eastern Russia, are critically endangered, with fewer than 40 left in the wild.
Frederick last shared his space with his sister, Andrea, who died of cancer in January, 2006. The Oregon Zoo wasn’t searching for a companion for him because cats tend to be solitary creatures. But the two seem to be getting along well, said Linda D’Ae-Smith, a zoo spokesperson.
“The introductions have gone as well as we could expect,” she said. “They seem to have personalities that work well together, with no fighting. There is some chasing, but that seems to be playful.”
Visitors are delighted, especially children, D’Ae-Smith said. “The kids thought she was beautiful. There was lots of big eyes (watching her).”
Kia (KI-yuh) arrived in April and spent a month in quarantine. The Oregon Zoo held off announcing her presence until the public could see her.
— Lynne Terry; firstname.lastname@example.org