Tashi and Gobi at Melbourne Zoo get fed a range of food now that they are fully weaned (which happened at about 4 months according to Senior Carnivore Keeper Howie.) The other day he put a number of rabbits into their area and Meo, mum, got to them first but as soon as the cubs ran up to her she gave them up and each cub got stuck into a rabbit. They also really like chicken although for some reason both mum Meo and dad Leon seem to prefer goat.
I had coffee with a couple of the Zoo staff again yesterday and looked in on the snow leopards as usual. I wasn’t expecting much action from them in the middle of the day and sure enough they were all very quiet. Shimbu, the grand old dame, was fast asleep amongst the rocks. It was amazing – as I walked close to her exhibit area I was positive I spotted her, but when I got close, of course it was a rock. It still surprises me, even after years, how well their beautiful fur provides for camouflage.
The cubs Tashi and Gobi are growing. Howie, the senior Carnivore Keeper told me that now, at 6 months of age (this week), Tashi (f) weighs 13.1 kg and Gobi (m) 12.7 kg. I asked if it was usual for the female to weigh more at the same age and he said “she’s just a bit faster into the food!” Mum Meo was also resting as was dad Leon next door. Leon was lying on top of his wooden platform with his enormous tail hanging down in all its glory. A gaggle of school kids were mesmerised by the size and thickness of the tail and stood for a long time, watching as it twitched in his sleep.
A video from the Melbourne Zoo snow leopard sponsor’s day. Carnivore Keeper Adrian Howard, better known as Howie, tells stories about the birth of Tashi and Gobi and how first time mum, Meo rose to the occassion.
All Photos by Kelly Hobbs, Melbourne Zoo. Thanks Kelly for another 4 pics of the kidlets……the little girl cub especially looks like like she really wants some “me” and “meo-mum” time.
Six-year-old Meo gave birth for the first time on December 7th, and until now the cubs have led a very sheltered life, initially spending all their time in a dark and quiet nesting box.
Meo has been bringing her cubs out into the adjacent night yards, so the cubs are slowly getting used to the wider world around them.
On March 5th Zoo veterinarians and keepers separated Meo from the cubs for a brief period, so Dr Michael Lynch could give the cubs a health check and vaccinate them against cat flu and feline enteritis.
Afterwards, keepers opened the access doors between the exhibit and the behind-the-scenes areas, so Meo and the cubs could move between the two areas. It’s expected that they will spend more and more time out in the exhibit as they become increasingly confident. See more on Meo and Leon’s background at the Melbourne Zoo website.