Lynx, Amur Leopards and Snow Leopards Receive a Snowy Experience

| January 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

Snow leopards, which are native to the cold, rugged mountains of central Asia, enjoyed ice and snow that was gifted to them this past month.

A lynx, three Amur leopards and two snow leopards received a cool experience this past month, when fresh, powdery snow was placed in their exhibits at the San Diego Zoo. While all three species of felines appeared to thoroughly enjoy the icy substance in their habitats, the snow leopards especially lived up to their name, as they spent hours pouncing, playing and rolling in the snow.

The snow was part of a special enrichment activity for these three cat species. Enrichment is part of the 24-hour experience that keeps the animals stimulated and active, allowing them to use their natural behaviors. The snow was made possible by many generous donors who contributed to the Zoo’s online Animal Care Wish List. The Wish List is similar to an online gift registry for animals at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. It is updated monthly and can be found at sandiegozoo.org/wishlist.

The San Diego Zoo is home to three eight-month-old lynx kittens: Juneau at the Children’s Zoo, and Cheyenne and Annie at Wegeforth Bowl; three Amur leopards: mother Satka and her two seven-month-old cubs Dorothy and Maryanne, at the Zoo’s Barlin-Kahn Family Panda Trek; and two snow leopards: five-year-old Penny and six-year-old Ramil, residing in the Zoo’s Asian Passage.

The Canadian lynx species is native to North America. It ranges across Canada and into Alaska and other parts of the northern United States, extending down the Rocky Mountains to Colorado, where they were reintroduced in the 1990s. It is listed as species of least concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

The Amur leopard is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Fewer than 70 Amur leopards have been documented in their native habitat, the Primorye region of the Russian Far East, making them the rarest big cat species on the planet. These mostly solitary animals were once found in northeastern China, Russia and the Korean Peninsula, but those populations have been decimated, due to loss of habitat and poaching for their thick, spotted coats.

Snow leopards are native to the cold, rugged mountains of central Asia. They are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, primarily due to habitat loss and poaching. It is estimated that fewer than 7,000 snow leopards exist in the wild. San Diego Zoo Global supports the Snow Leopard Trust and the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance, two organizations working to conserve these animals in their native habitats.

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents.

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Category: Animals, Local News

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