August 27, 2013
WCS’s Bronx Zoo is debuting a snow leopard cub sired by Leo – the snow leopard that became famous when he was rescued as an orphaned cub after being found in the mountains of northern Pakistan. Leo’s cub, his first, was born on April 9th to mother Maya.
Leo has served as an ambassador for Pakistan at the Bronx Zoo since 2006, when a groundbreaking agreement between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the United States brought him to New York City. Without the opportunity to learn essential survival skills from his mother, he could not return to the wild.
The birth of Leo’s first cub has received welcoming comments from the U.S. and Pakistan governments. The statements emphasize the positive influence wildlife and conservation can have in the world of diplomacy between nations.
Said Pat Thomas of the Bronx Zoo: “The birth of Leo’s first cub provides a significant boost to the genetics of the Snow Leopard [Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan] SSP program but is noteworthy for other reasons as well. Not only is the cub a milestone in Leo’s personal story, but it serves as a unifying symbol that people of different cultures can celebrate.”
Snow leopards are among the world’s most endangered big cats with an estimated 3,500-7,500 remaining in the wild. Their range is limited to remote mountains of Central Asia and parts of China, Mongolia, Russia, India and Bhutan. WCS has worked for decades on snow leopard conservation programs in the field with current projects in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and western China. Past projects have also included work with snow leopards in Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia.
To learn more, read the press release.