At the beginning of May, two snow leopards were born in Zurich Zoo’s Himalayan mountains. The two cubs are doing well and will spend the next few weeks in their den in the background. It is the first litter for the four-year-old mother Saida. This is what the Zurich Zoo writes in a press release.
In January and February, employees and visitors of the zoo were able to observe matings between the female Saida and the male Shahrukh. Female snow leopards are only receptive for five to eight days per year. During this time, the female mates with the male up to 36 times a day. At first it was unclear whether any of the pairings between Saida and Shahrukh were successful. Since May 5th we have certainty.
Two cubs, two birthdays
Interestingly, Saida did not give birth to the cubs one after the other, but about 24 hours apart. It’s not uncommon for cats to interrupt a birth, leaving several hours between births – although 24 hours is more unusual. The zoo employees were all the more surprised and happy when Saida gave birth to a second baby after the first one.
While males are solitary in nature and play no role in raising the young, Shahrukh stays with Saida and the offspring. Every now and then he takes a look into the den, but mostly stays in the outdoor enclosure. Saida also leaves the den, but spends most of her time with the young.
Currently not visible
The young snow leopards will be in the den for the next few weeks, where Saida will nurse them. Only after two to four months do the young begin to follow their mother in the outdoor enclosure. This is when visitors can see them for the first time. Snow leopards born at Zurich Zoo. (pd.)