Storied snow leopard cub debuts at Bronx Zoo

snow leopard Bronx Zoo
A snow leopard cub has made his first official appearance at the Bronx Zoo. Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society

An agreement between the United States and Pakistan famously brought an orphaned snow leopard cub named Leo to the Bronx Zoo in 2006, and now that partnership is bearing fruit.

A cub sired by Leo has made his debut at the zoo, tumbling on enormous paws around the Himalayan Highlands enclosure and into the hearts of his visitors.

The as-yet-unnamed male cub was born in April to Leo’s mate Maya, who was brought in from an Illinois zoo last year.

Snow leopards are among the world’s most endangered big cats with only 3,500-7,500 remaining in the wild. The cub’s birth brings the total number of snow leopards in a breeding program run by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to 137. The Bronx Zoo alone has overseen more than 70 births.

Leo’s journey from the high reaches of the Himalayas to the Bronx was immortalized in a 2010 children’s book and he has widely been viewed as an ambassador to Pakistan.

“The rescue of Leo as a cub, conducted by two nations, the continued global interest in him, and now the story of his first offspring shows the power of the connections between humans and nature,” said Bronx Zoo Director Jim Breheny.

Watch the cub explore his new environment in this video provided by the Wildlife Conservation Society:

Follow Emily Johnson on Twitter @emilyjreports


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