Zoo's Infant Snow Leopard Makes Its Public Debut at Zoo
The snow leopard, named Aibek, has been living with his mother, Helen, 12, since his birth in a maternity den in July. His father, Dhirin, does not live with the cub and stays in another enclosure because male snow leopards are considered solitary creatures.
One their website, the zoo says Aibek sniffed around the grass and trees as he got acclimated to the new terrain. He walked around a rocky hill and remained out of sight, which is something he may have instinctively picked up from his parents, who do the same.
The zoo says that while Aibek roamed around, his mother was vigilant and kept a close eye on her cub.
For a few hours a day, he and his mother will be given the option to returning to the public exhibition area.
Snow leopards, which are native to China, India, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan, were recently reclassified as "vulnerable," after more than 40 years regarded as an endangered species.
According to the Seattle-based Snow Leopard Trust, the population of the big cats in the wild is estimated to be between 3,920 and 6,390.