February 26, 2007
An orphaned snow leopard cub from northern Pakistan in enjoying its first winter at the Bronx Zoo in New York, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The cub, named Leo, was moved to the zoo last fall.
Leo, the Bronx Zoo’s 19-month-old snow leopard who was orphaned in his native Pakistan, feels right at home in his Zoo habitat that replicates the rocky mountainous region of his homeland. It’s his first NY winter and by the looks of things, he can pounce and roll around in the fluffy stuff with the best of the kids who are enjoying Monday’s latest snowfall. Photos by Julie Larsen Maher of WCS.
“This is Leo’s first real snow in his new home at the Bronx Zoo,” said Julie Larsen Maher, staff photographer for WCS. “He really enjoyed it. These cats are winter athletes —just made for this kind of weather with their thick fur, large paws, and long tail used for balance while leaping between rocks and ravines.”
Leo came to WCS after he discovered in the remote Naltar Valley of Pakistan last year. The Pakistani government invited the conservation group to use raise the cub in the United States.
Snow leopards are among the world’s most endangered big cats with a population estimated at 3,500–7,000 in the remote mountains of Central Asia. While the Bronx Zoo has bred more than 70 snow leopards in captivity, Leo will eventually return to Pakistan once an appropriate facility can be built.