Press Release
For Immediate Release
June 28, 2007
For More Information:
Cynthia Shipley
Manager, Marketing
(416) 392-5938

July 28, 2007, Toronto: After a hiatus of 13 years, two rare snow leopard cubs have been born at the Toronto Zoo to parents Kota (male) and Tiga (female) on June 5th, 2007. Both parents are relatively new arrivals, Kota from the Winnipeg Zoo in 2004 and Tiga from the Texas Zoo in 2006. The babies are the couple's first litter.

"We are just ecstatic at these two births," says Zoo Curator of Mammals, Maria Franke. "With the population in the wild declining, captive breeding has had a huge impact on the survival of the species. The Toronto Zoo is also working with the Snow Leopard Trust, a conservation organization dedicated to the protection of wild snow leopards and we now have fair trade products made by local people in snow leopard habitat available in our Gift Shop. Snow Leopard Enterprises helps people in these areas to increase their household income while helping to protect the cats and their habitats."

While the exact wild population of these felines is not known, it is considered to be very low with the surviving animals at risk due to habitat destruction, hunting, and the recent political unrest. A total of 28 snow leopards have been born at the Toronto Zoo. There are over 600 snow leopards in zoos worldwide with 250 being managed under the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP).

Found in the Himalayas and mountains of Central Asia, these beautiful felines are adapted to freezing temperatures with long thick tails and fur. Their coat is a grayish-yellow colour with black rings and rosettes. One to four cubs are born after a gestation of about three months. They will nurse for up to four months but begin to eat meat at one to two months. Considered fully grown at one and one half years, snow leopards are sexually mature at three years of age.

While male and female snow leopards may bond, it is not known if the male participates in raising the young.

Our two new rare Zoobabies can be seen with their mother 'Tiga' in their exhibit located in the Zoo's Eurasia section.