Snow leopard cubs to make debut at LA Zoo

Sep 6, 2006 10:50 pm US/Pacific

(CBS) LOS ANGELES The first snow leopard cubs to be born at the Los Angeles Zoo in 22 years will make their debut at the Griffith Park facility.

The two cubs, both male, were born May 25. They are the offspring of the zoo’s leopards – 12-year-old T’ung Ling and 8-year-old Gail.

The cubs have already been named, courtesy of Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association donors Gail and Jerry Oppenheimer. The couple “paid in advance for the right to name the first litter of snow leopards.

The cubs are named Jerry – after Oppenheimer – and Tom, in honor of GLAZA board chairman Tom Mankiewicz.

Snow leopards are an endangered species, with an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 remaining in the wild. They are considered extremely rare and difficult to observe because of the remoteness of their habitat in the mountains of Asia. Snow leopards are solitary animals that come together only to mate.

According to zoo officials, there are 170 snow leopards living in 61 zoos that participate in the Snow Leopard Species Survival Program, which makes husbandry and breeding recommendations.

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