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The Zoo's Snow Leopard Family

10/08/2014

The smallest big cat species you’ll find in KeyBank Big Cat Falls is the snow leopard.  The Zoo is home to four of them: a breeding pair and their two offspring.  Here’s a better look into our snow leopard family:

Maya

Maya is a seven-year-old female who was born at the Toronto Zoo in 2007. She holds the distinction of being the first snow leopard ever to produce cubs in the Zoo’s 155-year history!  And not only did she do it once in 2011,when she gave birth to healthy twin boys Kimti and Dian, but she repeated history last year when she gave birth to her second litter of cubs, Buck and Ranney.  Maya has again proven herself to be an exceptional mother— very capable, nurturing, and protective.  She continues to display lots of attention and patience toward her current litter and is often the focal point of her twins’ attention.

Amga

“Ami” is the sire of both litters and is very affectionate towards the snow family.  Dignified and stoic, he is seldom seen playing with a toy or an enrichment item. He does, however, love to rub and mark different scented objects.  He is also an excellent hunter.  Born at the Denver Zoo in 2005, his name means “peaceful” in Mongolian. 

Buck & Ranney

This male and female duo is the second litter to Maya and Amga.  Although they look very similar, they have varying personalities.  Ranney is energetic and often initiates play. She is very independent and is usually the last one to come inside at the end of the day.  Buck is more laid back and loves to eat.  He’s a great climber and was the first one to reach the very top of the rocks in their exhibit when they were young.  They are now 17 months old. 

Next time you visit Big Cat Falls, be sure to either look up, left, or right after you exit the theater—the snow leopards could be anywhere!  Stop by to see whether they are high above your head in the northern section of Big Cat Crossing or in any one of the three courtyard rotational exhibits.  

snow leopards

Jen RobertsonJen RobertsonBy Jen Robertson, KeyBank Big Cat Falls Keeper