Philadelphia Zoo Announces Birth of Two Snow Leopard Cubs

(June 22, 2011) The Philadelphia Zoo is pleased to welcome two Snow Leopard cubs to its growing animal family. Maya, the Zoo’s 3-year-old female snow leopard, gave birth to two cubs in the afternoon of Thursday, June 9th. This is Maya’s first litter. These cubs are also the first offspring for Amga, the Zoo’s 5-year-old male snow leopard. Additionally, these are the first snow leopard cubs ever born at the Philadelphia Zoo and in the First Niagara Big Cat Falls exhibit, continuing the Zoo’s successful breeding of big cats, which includes a baby jaguar recently born on June 3rd.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Maya and Amga’s new cubs,” says Tammy Schmidt, Carnivore Curator. “To be able to participate in world conservation and contribute on this level is truly amazing. Additionally, this being the second birth of a big cat in just a week is also extraordinary. This birth is a significant contribution to the endangered snow leopard population in the U.S. We are cautiously optimistic and letting Maya be a fantastic first time mom,” said Schmidt. The Zoo works with the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) breeding program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) whose mission is to manage 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 healthy 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 baby cubs flourishing in their new environment,” said Robert Kane, First Niagara Bank Eastern Pennsylvania Regional President.

Mother and cubs are doing well. Maya has been in constant physical contact with her cubs since birth, caring for and feeding them. The first 72 hours of the cub’s life are the most critical and monitored closely by the Zoo’s animal and veterinary staff. The cubs’ public debut is still to be confirmed, but will not occur for approximately 3 months. This birth comes on the heels of the new jaguar cub born on Friday, June 3rd and other baby animals, including an orangutan, a gibbon, a giraffe and more, during June Baby Boom.

Snow leopards have endangered status in the wild due to habitat destruction, conflict with humans, and poaching. The Philadelphia Zoo supports snow leopards by supporting the Snow Leopard Trust, which uses a combination of approaches to conservation that focus on partnering with communities in snow leopard habitat. For updates on the cub or to ADOPT a snow leopard, visit philadelphiazoo.org and follow us on facebook.com/philadelphiazoo.

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