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Welsh Zoo Hopes New Snow Leopard Couple Will Breed

Staff at a North Wales zoo are confident about hearing the patter of tiny paws after a female snow leopard was brought in to breed with its resident male.

The Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay this week welcomed Padme to help conserve this vulnerable species – fewer than 3,500 of which remain in the wild.

She has joined Sumbe, a two-year-old male, who arrived at the zoo in 2022.

It is now hoped romance will blossom.

“Snow leopards can be picky when it comes to choosing their partners , but not as picky as pandas – few animals are, luckily,” said Peter Litherland, the zoo’s collection manager.

Speaking on Radio Wales’ Breakfast programme on Friday, he added: “But while they may not fall in love, they will get on with it [breeding] because, well, nature is nature.

“The only problem will be if they don’t like each other at all.

“If that is the case we might not see any babies, although the pair will probably be able to live together perfectly well.

“But we’re very confident we’ll hear patter of tiny paws.

“Padme’s still young anyway, so we’ve got a couple of years to play with.”

The 18-month-old female made the journey to Wales from Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland where she was born into a litter of three cubs.

“We have a history in caring for snow leopards here at the zoo and are keen for this to continue,” added Mr Litherland.

“With a declining population in the wild it’s vital that we continue our work to help conserve the species through conservation breeding and education.”

The zoo carried out £1 million redevelopment of its snow leopard enclosure three years ago to provide a habitat that emulates their own natural surroundings and environment.

It has also become increasingly involved in campaigns and projects to safeguard and raise awareness of the status of the species, which is classified as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s danger list.

In addition, the zoo continues to make an annual commitment to support the Snow Leopard Trust, an organisation that works to protect the cat in partnership with the communities that share its habitat.

Source : BBC