Shanti, the three month old snow leopard cub at Binder Park Zoo recently got a couple of new playmates that she might have thought should be her traditional enemies. Two 10 week old boxer-mix puppies are to help provide her with companionship and socialization after she was removed from her mother after birth when mum couldn’t provide the normal mothering support for Shanti’s survival.
“We feel it’s very important to limit the amount of human contact that the cub receives to decrease her chances of imprinting on us,” said Jenny Barnett, Director of Wildlife Conservation at Binder Park Zoo. “Our purpose in having snow leopards at the Zoo is to educate our guests about conservation of this species but also to breed and maintain a genetically diverse group of animals that retain as many of their wild traits and instincts as possible,” she said.
“The possibility of future release back into the wild is unlikely but something we do not want to rule out. An animal that grows up to depend on humans can never be reintroduced back into the wild.” Apparently using dogs as a snow leopards best friend is becoming quite common practice in many zoos.
Most elusive cat on earth. Can leap seven times their body length. Longest tail of any cat to protect in freezing cold and give balance on steep cliffs. Live at highest altitudes for any cat on earth – to 5000 metres. Best night vision of any cat. Can travel 40 kilometres in one night.
"For epochs to come the peaks will still pierce the lonely vistas, but when the last Snow Leopard has stalked among the crags and the last Markhor has stood on a promontory, his ruff waving in the breeze, a spark of life will have gone, turning the mountains into stones of silence."
George B. Schaller, “Stones of Silence- Journeys in the Himalaya” 1979.
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Snow Leopard Conservancy
Promoting community-based stewardship of the endangered snow leopard, its prey and habitat.