Rare snow leopard born in conservation triumph

A rare snow leopard cub has been born at a north Wales zoo, marking a success in the conservation of a species at risk of extinction in the wild.

The cub, which has not yet been named, is the first to be born at the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay, Conwy, in a decade.

China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, and Pakistan are home to 75% of the world’s population of wild snow leopards.

Zookeepers have had a watchful eye on mum Padme and the cub in their den since the birth on 12 June, but visitors are now able to see them together for the first time.

Snow leopard cub with mother
The snow leopard is classed as vulnerable in the wild [Welsh Mountain Zoo]

The cub is also the first to be born within a new habitat at the zoo which replicates the landscapes of mountain ranges where snow leopards naturally roam.

Its sex has not yet been determined.

"The snow leopard is classed as vulnerable in the wild and so breeding in managed zoo settings in conjunction with the zoo’s annual commitment to support the Snow Leopard Trust is essential if we are to safeguard the future conservation of this amazing animal," said Chris Mitchell, of the Welsh Mountain Zoo.

The zoo had hoped that Padme and dad Sumbe would find comfort and familiarity in their new home with potential to breed.

Mr Mitchell said programmes such as these were important to ensure healthy populations of vulnerable and endangered species were maintained.