TULSA, OK, October 21, 2010 –   The Tulsa Zoo is proud to announce the expansion of its snow leopard family with the birth of two snow-white cubs and is inviting you to a SPECIAL MEDIA SNEAK PEEK THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21 at 9:30 a.m.

 

The two cubs, one female and one male, were born June 8, 2010 to first-time mother Sherab and father Rajan.  Celeste Czarniak, a large mammal zookeeper, was first to greet the cubs.

 

“I heard the cubs even before I had a chance to see them.  It was a moment that made my heart race and it brought tears to my eyes,” Czarniak said.

 

Worried that Sherab would shun her cubs, keepers were relieved when Sherab immediately began to take care of them.  Karen Dunn, the Curator of Large Mammals, says that Sherab is proving herself to be a good mother.

 

“The mother, from the time they were born, has been very attentive to their many needs: grooming, nursing, keeping them warm if needed, and protecting them if she thought they might be threatened,” Dunn said.

 

As the cubs grow older and become better acquainted with their surroundings, Sherab will have her paws full trying to keep up with her curious cubs.  After 4 months, the cubs are already pouncing around their enclosure and following Sherab’s lead as they learn to become snow leopards.

 

The cubs have already begun developing their own personalities.

 

“The female is very timid and sticks by her mom, the male is a spitfire and explores everything. Both are curious and are more adventurous each day,” Czarniak said.

 

Not only is this birth exciting for the Tulsa Zoo, but also for snow leopard conservation efforts with only 141 snow leopards in captivity in North America.  Found in parts of Asia and Eastern Europe, snow leopards are an endangered species threatened by illegal poaching.  The Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan will make recommendations for future placement in another zoo to continue successful breeding, and these two cubs will have new homes at other zoos very soon.

 

The cubs are now on exhibit and will be seen with their mother, Sherab, until about 3:00 p.m. daily.  For the safety of the cubs, the father, Rajan, will not be on exhibit with the cubs, but he will be rotated into the exhibit whenever Sherab and the cubs are in the den.

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About the Tulsa Zoo:

The Tulsa Zoo, voted “America’s Favorite Zoo,” is accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA). The Tulsa Zoo is located in Mohawk Park on 36th Street North, just east of Sheridan. The zoo is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Admission is $8.00 for adults, $6.00 for seniors age 65 and older and $4.00 for children age 3-11; children 2 and under and Zoo Friends members are free. For more info call (918) 669-6600 or www.tulsazoo.org.

 

Angela “Snowflake” Evans

Marketing & Public Relations Director

918.669.6612 - Office

918.606.3542 - Cell