March 15, 2011


Today’s "Cool Photo of the Week" is a 6-week-old snow leopard cub, sitting for her weekly weigh-in at Tennessee’s Chattanooga Zoo. This cub is the only survivor of three cubs born to the mother leopard in January, and she is a success story in the zoo’s conservation effort. The zoo works with the Snow Leopard Trust  to breed these endangered big cats, raise funds for research, and help preserve the species. Though snow leopard cubs only have a 30 percent survival rate, this baby is healthy and gaining about a pound a week.

 This little cub does not have a name yet, and the zookeepers are looking for suggestions. If you have an idea, write a comment here and we will pass your suggestions on. You could be the lucky reader to name this beautiful snow leopard! The zoo’s deadline for naming the baby is April 25, so send your ideas in now.

The Snow Leopard is a large cat native to the high mountain ranges of South Asia and Central Asia. They were nearly hunted into extinction because their bones are considered powerful ingredients in traditional Asian medicine. Researchers estimate that between 3,500 and 7,000 snow leopards are left in the wild (and another 600 - 700 in zoos). These beautiful cats are hard to spot, since they are naturally secretive and their white coats act as camouflage in the snow.  So, researchers rely on other ways of detecting a snow leopard’s presence, including looking for scrapes (snow leopards scrape their back legs in loose soil, leaving a small hole with a pile of soil next to it), scent markings (they claim their territory by spraying rocks and bushes with a strong-smelling liquid from a scent gland near the tail) and scat (also known as feces, or "droppings").


Photo: Chattanooga Zoo 


Posted by: Seymour Simon

(6) Comments  •   Labels: science news, Animals, Cool Photo, Contests, Conservation   •  Permalink (link to this article)   •  Share: