Melbourne Zoo is a part of Zoos Victoria, three Zoos in the city of Melbourne, Australia. The Zoo has had a number of beautiful snow leopards over the year including Gregor who sadly passed away late 2008 at the ripe old age of 20 years. I was very sad to hear about Gregor’s passing, I used to visit him a lot and he was responsible for my long standing interest in snow leopards. Adrian Howard, or “Howie” as he is known, the snow leopard keeper was also sad, saying that “Gregor was a pretty special cat. We all loved him. He was very gentle and always curious.”
Gregor’s mate, Shimbu. who shared the exhibit area with him, is doing well and is also nearly 20 years old.
The zoo also has two younger snow leopards, Leon and Meo, both six years old, who are now breeding. See all the posts on their cubs, Tashi and Gobi on my Home Page.
Here’s an interview I did with Adrian “Howie” Howard, Senior Carnivore Keeper at Melbourne Zoo about Shimbu and Gregor.
“Simbu and Gregor, our two snow leopards that were together for 15 years. They obviously formed a bond over the years, and looked for one another and spent time together. After he died last year (2008) Shimbu would call for him in the mornings, she did that for a few months so it was obvious she missed him.
“She still calls occasionally but she’s a relaxed cat these days. She likes her food and has now accepted that she doesn’t have to compete with him any more for her tucker. She’s retired now and she can do what she likes. If it’s a little bit warm she’s straight back inside in the back and that’s OK with us.
She’s a relaxed cat, a terrific cat. She’s a great character, as was Gregor. Gregor was one of those cats that you remember for your whole career. I’ve been here for 15 years so I’ve worked with Gregor and Shimmy for my whole career. Losing an animal like him is very difficult, he was a special cat and I’ve been privileged to look after him.
Shimmy’s doing well for an old girl. We gave Shimbu a full medical a few months ago, we gave her an anesthetic, she’s a bit hard of hearing and her eye sight isn’t what it used to be and she’s also a bit stiff, but hey, she’s 20 years old, that’s seriously old – over 100 years old for a human.”
JOIN the Melbourne Zoo “Friends of Snow Leopards” social network. Any-one anywhere in the world can join. We post news, photos and videos of the snow leopards at Melbourne Zoo as well as info on snow leopard conservation worldwide. The Friends and Sponsors are exploring ways to support snow leopard conservation projects.