TORONTO, ON, Tuesday, July 25, 2017
- On the morning of Thursday, June 15, 2017, Toronto Zoo staff observed one of the snow leopard cubs in an area of the den, away from its mother and the other cubs. After monitoring the cubs via camera, it was determined that this cub had passed away. When staff were able to access the den, the cub was removed and taken to the Wildlife Health Centre where a preliminary post-mortem was conducted by one of the Zoo’s veterinarians and it was concluded that the cub had passed away as a result of pneumonia.
Upon further investigation by the veterinary team, it was determined that the cubs were exposed to Bordetella bronchiseptica which dad Kota is a carrier of. The veterinary team was able to provide medical treatment to the remaining cubs as they too were beginning to show signs of Bordetella infection including persistent coughing similar to whooping cough.
Subsequent to treatment, they are both doing well and recovering nicely. The cubs, a male and female, started on solid foods eating mostly ground meat and trying some of mom’s meals which include quail, bone and rabbit. Ena, the mom is beginning to wean them. The little female weighs 4.34 kg, and the male weighs 3.53 kg. She is much bigger than her brother and extremely playful, checking out everything in the den. He is quieter and prefers to cuddle with mom. Both love to wrestle with each other and climb all over the hay bales and Ena. They are also interacting with keepers more and very curious about everything.
The mom and cubs will remain off exhibit for the next several weeks as they continue to bond and get through the most delicate stages of their early development.
The Toronto Zoo is participating in a snow leopard conservation breeding program through the Species Survival Plan program and very active in supporting conservation efforts in the wild through the Toronto Zoo Endangered Species Reserve Fund. The snow leopard is classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Please note, as mom and cubs remain off exhibit, media are not permitted in the maternity area of the Snow Leopard Habitat. Toronto Zoo staff will provide updates, photos and video as they become available.