Calgary, AB – The Calgary Zoo has a striking new feline resident Leika, the snow leopard, who is ready for her debut. After much anticipation, the one-year old female will join the zoo’s 17-year old male snow leopard, Karesh, in their habitat in Eurasian Gateway.
“We are thrilled to have Leika join our zoo family,” says Matt Korhonen, Curator, Calgary Zoo. “The species is one of the most majestically beautiful and enigmatic big cats on earth, so we want to preserve them for generations to come and do what we can to educate our visitors on the important conservation work zoos do.”
Leika arrived from Zoo Kameltheatre in Austria and is now settling into her new surroundings. Snow leopards are part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) which helps to ensure a wide range of genetic diversity and may safeguard the species from becoming extinct.
Snow leopards are found in the high mountain regions of Central Asia and have estimated populations ranging from 4,000 to 6,500 remaining in the wild. They are currently listed as endangered on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List.