For immediate release
Jacksonville Zoo’s Two Small Amur Leopard Cubs Make Their Big Debut!
Now on Exhibit Daily at 12 Noon and 2 p.m.
July 27, 2012 - Jacksonville, Fl -
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens announces that its two rare Amur leopard cubs, born on May 31st, made their public debut today. The twin male cubs, though a little reluctant at first, quickly got over their “stage fright” and seemed to thoroughly enjoy running, playing and exploring the Leopard Exhibit, which is located close to Stingray Bay. They will be on exhibit for varying lengths of time while they adjust to their new environment and will also be given access to their den. This will allow them to behave naturally, having periods of activity and then returning to their nesting site for rest, feeding and time with mom. Scheduled exhibit times are 12:00 noon and 2:00 p.m. daily. Leopard mom, Makari, watches over her cubs very closely and will sometimes coax the twins back to their den for a nap when the time is right. While they are in their den, guests can still get a behind-the-scenes look at the cubs on a TV monitor stationed in the gazebo next to the Leopard Exhibit.
“This much anticipated debut of our twin leopard cubs comes only as a result of the hard work of our Zoo mammal staff, who have been devoted to the cubs care day and night since their birth,” said Tony Vecchio, Executive Director of Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. “Now our guests, who, so far, have only seen them in photos, can come face-to-face and see for themselves that there is such a thing as being ‘too cute for words’.”
Amur leopards are critically endangered and quite possibly the most endangered large cat on Earth. As such, the Jacksonville Zoo’s cubs join a population of approximately 200 Amur leopards in zoos. Alarmingly, there are fewer than 50 of this species living in their native lands of Russia, China, and North Korea. Amur leopard males are particularly valuable for ensuring the preservation of the species in zoos. They are managed under a Species Survival Plan (SSP) through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a national organization made up of approximately 240 zoos, including Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, across the nation that have to meet the highest standards for animal care. When the cats are old enough, a breeding recommendation will be made by the AZA and a transfer to another zoo will be necessary.
About the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
For nearly a century, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has been dedicated to inspiring the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Started in 1914 with an animal collection that consisted of one red deer fawn, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens now has more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals. It has won national acclaim for its South American Range of the Jaguar exhibit and regional, state and local awards for its botanical gardens. The Jacksonville Zoo is a nonprofit organization and is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It is open year-round, seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Christmas day, and is located on Jacksonville’s north side at 370 Zoo Parkway, one-half mile east from I-95. For more information on the Zoo, log on to http://www.jacksonvillezoo.org.