a students' magazine

Snow leopards

Hi everybody! Remember the cute snow leopards in the Tallin Zoo?

On July 9th 2010 the two Amur leopard cubs were given their official names after receiving more than 600 name suggestions from all-over the world!

The two cubs, a male and a female, were named Khasan and Khanka, after the names of two lakes that are found in the region from where these leopards originate.

We have followed their growth by means of a web cam in their nest which however on 20th October was switched off because the leopards are always outside, so we can still watch them during the day.

I’d like to give you some more information about these wonderful animals.

The Snow Leopard lives in the high mountains of Central Asia, at an altitude of 1.500 up to 6000mt, in a dry and rocky environment.

The name, “snow leopard”, derives from the fact that it is the only large wild cat that has adapted to this altitude.

Its light-greyish fur, yellowish and patterned with dark grey spots, is an excellent camouflage for its surroundings of rocks and snow.

It has long hairs with dense woolly underfur and a long tail, and there isn’t a great difference between its fur colour in summer and winter, as with other animals. It has a large nose cavity, short limbs and a strong chest to better adapt to high altitude.

It can weigh between 25-50 kg, males weighing more than females, as very often in nature. The females give birth to two or three cubs after 90-103 days of gestation and the cubs weigh 300-700g at birth.

Snow Leopards in captivity can live up to 18 years, and they are an endangered species and part of the European Endangered species Program (EEP), which is an organization that monitors and coordinates the continuation of the species.

There are up to 4000-6000 Snow Leopards living in the wild across 12 countries, but its numbers are declining because most of its habitat is disappearing.

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