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Twin Snow Leopard Cubs Debut at Central Park Zoo

By Ben Fractenberg | November 4, 2013 1:53pm
Central Park Zoo Snow Leopards
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Wildlife Conservation Society

MANHATTAN — Two frisky snow leopards born at the Central Park Zoo this summer made their public debut Monday.

The twin cubs, a male and female weighing about 30 pounds each, were the first snow leopards born in the Manhattan zoo, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. They will eventually make a daily appearance at the Allison Maher Stern Snow Leopard Exhibit, after acclimating to their surroundings.

"We are thrilled to share these snow leopard cubs with zoo guests," director Craig Piper said.

The leopard exhibit was built to educate the public about this endangered species and to bolster the Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program with other zoos across North America, Piper added.

First-time parents Zoe, 7, and Askai, 6, produced the as-yet-unnmade cubs after the male cat was sent to Central Park from the Bronx Zoo.

This is second time snow leopard cubs have been born in the city's zoos. Last month, a leopard cub made his first public appearance at the Bronx Zoo.

That cub, which has also not yet been named, was fathered by Leo, a snow leopard who was rescued after being orphaned in the mountains of northern Pakistan.  

There are only about 3,500 to 6,500 snow leopards left in the wild. They live in remote mountains of Central Asia and parts of China, Mongolia, Russia, India and Bhutan. The leopards were first introduced at the Central Park Zoo in 2009.

The cubs will eventually grow to weight between 65 and 120 pounds.

The Central Park Zoo is open seven days a week, 365 days a year. General Admission is $12 for adults, $9 for senior citizens, $7 for children 3 to 12 and free for children younger than 3.