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Snow Leopard Cubs Open Their Eyes for the First Time 

Posted by Craig Newberry, Communications
Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Three snow leopard cubs born at Woodland Park Zoo on Memorial Day continue to grow and have now opened their eyes. The cubs recently underwent their neonate exam where it was learned there is one male cub and two females. All three cubs are healthy, active and becoming cuter each day.

The cubs were born to mom Marai, 7, and dad Aibek, 6. This is their first litter of cubs after they were paired under the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program across accredited zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of the species.

The mom and cubs remain in an off-view maternity den to allow bonding and proper nursing in a quieter setting. Zoo staff closely watch the mother and cubs on a den camera to watch for normal behaviors. It will be several more weeks before the cubs are introduced to the outdoor, on-view exhibit.

Since snow leopards are solitary animals in the wild, the cubs’ father and grandmother Helen are housed separately. Guests can see either Aibek and Helen, 19, the mother of Aibek, on exhibit until the cubs are ready to make their debut. 

Woodland Park Zoo has long been a conservation partner with the Snow Leopard Trust (SLT) and the zoo has been caring for snow leopards since the zoo’s first snow leopards arrived in 1972 from the former USSR. The Snow Leopard Trust was created in 1981 by the late Woodland Park Zoo staff member Helen Freeman, the namesake of the zoo’s snow leopard Helen.

To help ensure the future of snow leopards in their native range, the zoo asks the community to support the zoo and partner Snow Leopard Trust, and pledge never to buy or sell illegal animal products on the black market. You can learn more about SLT and how you can help protect these majestic cats by visiting

Snow leopards are a SAFE species. SAFE stands for Saving Animals From Extinction, which is an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) initiative that combines all member institutions’ expertise, resources, and reach to save wildlife by promoting protection for more than 30 endangered species and their wild habitats. "SAFE Snow Leopard aims, through its partnerships between AZA members and key field partners Snow Leopard Trust and Snow Leopard Conservancy, to illuminate the relationships between wildlife, livestock, humans, and abiotic factors in a changing world to better understand snow leopard ecology, range, spatial and trophic ecology, and basic population ecology."


Anonymous said…
i love these little guys :) so happy to see them growin
Anonymous said…
They're adorable!
Thank you everything you're doing to keep them healthy and to protect the species!