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Philadelphia Zoo Announces the Birth of Snow Leopard Cubs

Philadelphia, PA --(June 6, 2013)-- The Philadelphia Zoo is pleased to welcome two new snow leopard cubs! Maya, the Zoo’s 6-year-old female snow leopard, gave birth to three cubs in the late evening of Sunday, May 26th. One of the cubs passed away on Thursday, May 30th, a few days after its birth, Initial necropsy findings indicate this cub was abnormally small and failed to nurse successfully– further tests are pending and should be available within the next few weeks. The remaining two are healthy and thriving.

Mother and the remaining cubs are being monitored frequently by animal care staff using video cameras positioned inside a secluded indoor den at First Niagara Big Cat Falls. “The cubs are still very young, and this is a critical period, but we are cautiously optimistic that they will thrive,” says Tammy Schmidt, Curator of Carnivores and Ungulates. “Maya is an experienced mother and is being very attentive in these first days.”
This is the second litter for Maya and Amga, the Zoo’s 8-year-old male snow leopard, after a set of twins born in June 2011. Those cubs were the first snow leopards ever born at the Philadelphia Zoo and both litters  continue the Zoo’s successful history with big cats. Both cubs from the first litter have since moved to other zoos. With snow leopards and other species, the Zoo works with the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) breeding programs of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which are charged with managing populations of threatened, endangered and other species across AZA zoos, to maintain long-term genetic and demographic viability.
“We were excited to hear the news of Maya’s baby snow leopard cubs. It is an exciting time at the Zoo. In the coming months visitors will have a truly unique opportunity to observe the cubs flourishing in their new environment at First Niagara Big Cat Falls,” says Robert Kane, First Niagara Bank Eastern Pennsylvania Regional President.
Snow leopards are native to the mountains of Central Asia, where they are endangered due to habitat loss, conflict with humans, and poaching. Fewer than 7000 are thought to remain in the wild. The Philadelphia Zoo supports the Snow Leopard Trust, which uses a combination of approaches to conservation that focus on partnering with communities in snow leopard habitat.

America's first zoo and one of the region's foremost conservation organizations, the Philadelphia Zoo is home to nearly 1,300 animals, many rare and endangered. By connecting people with wildlife, the Philadelphia Zoo creates joyful discovery and inspires action for animals and habitats. The Philadelphia region’s leading family destination, the Zoo welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors last year. The Philadelphia Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. To become a member, donate or to purchase tickets please visit