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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Appreciating the snow leopard


On August 18, the zoo is hosting the first Snow Leopard Appreciation Day from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. As you may know, snow leopards live in the mountainous areas in Central Asia and are increasingly endangered, with perhaps only about 3,000 or so left in the wild. Back in the 1980s, the zoo's former Education Curator, Helen Freeman, was particularly struck with these beautiful cats and formed the International Snow Leopard Trust, the oldest organization working to protect these cats. Over the years, the pressure on these animals has increased with people in snow leopard range areas poaching the animals for the illegal fur market or to protect their herds of goats and sheep that they rely on. What is now the Snow Leopard Trust, works with herding communities on anti-poaching programs and also has collaborated to create co-ops and other small businesses to help these people make a living from something other than poaching and to replace any income that may be lost from snow leopards feeding on their animals. The zoo has been SLT's partner since the beginning, and we are celebrating our 25th year together by hosting Snow Leopard Day. Join us and learn more about snow leopards, view and purchase craft items created by the people in snow leopard country and hear music that comes from these areas.

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