Sunday, May 11, 2014

New Mexico Snow Leopard arrives at Micke Grove Zoo

Micke Grove Zoo’s new female snow leopard is now on public display. The zoo is hosting a coming-out party today.

LODI - Zoo officials are throwing a coming-out party today to celebrate a new snow leopard at Micke Grove Zoo. The big cat is actually more of kitten. It turned 1-year-old last Saturday. It was brought to the zoo in January. It didn't go directly into its new home in the Paseo Pantera exhibit. The animal was held in quarantine before being eased into the public eye.

The Snow Leopard First Day-Birthday celebration will include crafts, games and talks - all staying with the snow leopard theme. The party is from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., but after 1 p.m., the Micke Grove Zoological Society will be giving out free snow cones.

The snow leopard is an endangered species, and the zoo has housed them since 1986. Nine have been born there, according to zoo officials. It's estimated there are 2,500 to 6,500 snow leopards in the wild, according to the zoo. Micke Grove got its latest leopard from the Albuquerque BioPark in Albuquerque, N.M., through a recommendation from the Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan.

The zoo's new cat is a female. In an announcement, zookeepers say that visitors will be able to watch the shy but curious animal grow into a mature adult. The enclosure used to be home to Monte, a mountain lion. Illness forced the zoo to euthanize the animal last year. Ling-shan, another snow leopard, was put down in 2012. The animal was 20 years old and had cancer and other illnesses.
But there has been an influx of cats at the zoo in recent months. The zoo moved a bobcat out of quarantine and into public exhibit in January, about the same time the snow leopard cub arrived.
Officials are hoping to raise money to finish a new enclosure for snow leopards.

The county-owned zoo is inside Micke Grove Regional Park at 11793 N. Micke Grove Road outside Lodi. Zoo admission is $5, but for children 3 to 13, it is $3. Children 2 and younger get in free. For more information, go to

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