Super-cute snow leopard cub ventures outside for the first time
PUBLISHED: 18:09 03 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:49 03 July 2018
After eight weeks a Norfolk zoo can finally declare with confidence - it’s a girl!
Thrigby Hall’s latest animal arrival kept everyone guessing until it was time to administer the dreaded jabs and give the super-cute snow leopard cub a good look over.
Having caught and closely examined the Central Asian cat, staff were finally able to answer the question on everyone’s lips - whether it was a boy or a girl.
Scott Bird, zoological director at the wildlife gardens just outside Filby, said the parents Nima and Mohan had kept their offspring under wraps for weeks meaning not even the regular keepers had had a good look.
But now the as-yet unnamed animal was venturing outside and exploring her environment, delighting visitors, he said, adding:
“We are thrilled that Mohan and Nima have successfully bred another healthy cub.
“We are very proud to be able to contribute, yet again, to the international breeding programme for this wonderful species.”
Previously the pair produced two male cubs who have now joined zoos in Finland and Poland where they will hopefully add to Europe’s stud stock.
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The health check was carried out by veterinary surgeon Eloise Quince from Anchorage Veterinary Hospital who also administered vaccinations, the same as would be given to a domestic cat at that age.
Thrigby Hall describes itself as passionate about leopard conservation.
It has successfully bred snow leopards and Amur leopards in recent years and is also home to clouded leopards and Asian golden cats.
Snow leopard can be found in the rugged mountains of Central Asia spanning 12 countries.
They are perfectly adapted to the cold, barren landscape of their high-altitude home, but human threats have created an uncertain future for them.
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Scientists estimate there may only be between 3,920 and 6,390 snow leopards left in the wild.
As a result of ongoing conservation efforts, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has reclassified snow leopards from endangered to vulnerable.
The species’ survival is still at risk and continues to face threats that stem from human activities such as habitat loss and illegal killings.
The new female leopard is likely to be at Thrigby for at least a year until she receives her mission posting to help the population grow.