New snow leopards debut at the Zoo

PHILADELPHIA - November 17, 2011

Their historic births took place over the summer, and now after a couple of unexpected medical procedures, the snow leopard cubs are "feline" just fine.

It is fitting that the snow leopard cubs made their public debut on the day that the weather turned so cold in Philadelphia.

Momma leopard Maya gave birth to Kimti and Dian on June 9th, and more

than five months later, the cubs are doing well, and showing off their playful cub-type of stuff.

"They are just like regular human children," says Tammy Schmidt.

This was the first birth of snow leopards in the zoo's history, and it was the first litter for mom and dad.

The two fur balls did end up in a hairy situation. The cubs came down with an eye abnormality that required anesthesia and surgery.

"It couldn't have gone better," said Dr. Keith Hinshaw. "And I think it was a bit of a challenge because we didn't want to disturb the bond between the cubs and their mother."

Amga, a five year old snow leopard, is the father of the two cubs. He is living in a different exhibit for a number of reasons. Partly because mom happens to wear the pants in the family, and because that is just the way it happens in the wild.

"In the wild, dad kind of makes a stop, and moves on. They may meet up again later on in the year," explains Tammy.

Perhaps Amga and Maya will come together again, but even if they don't, the zoo is very excited about adding to the population of an animal that is endangered in the wild.

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