Millennium Post (Kolkata)
Good news: 3 snow leopard cubs born at Darjeeling Zoo
Captive bred snow leopards likely to be released in wild
DARJEELING: There is reason to cheer at the Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (Pnhzp) popular as Darjeeling zoo.
Three snow leopard cubs were born at a facility under the zoo on April 10.
With the immense success of the captive breeding programme, the zoo is now planning to release captive bred snow leopards in the wild.
The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) are highly endangered animals. In summer snow leopards are found in altitudes ranging from 2000 m to 6,000 m. in Central and South Asia. They usually lead a solitary life.
“On April 10, three cubs were born to Zima, the snow leopard at Tobgeydanra Conservation Breeding Centre under the Pnhzp, near Ghoom, Darjeeling,” Dharamdeo Rai, Director Pnhzp. said.
“The cubs have been fathered by Namka. This is the third time Zima has given birth. The mother and the cubs are doing fine and we hope they survive. They are under constant watch,” added the Director of Pnhzp.
The Pnhzp is the pioneer zoo in India to have initiated the captive breeding programme of snow leopards. In 1986 this programme had been initiated with 4 snow leopards. At present there are 12 snow leopards in the zoo and non display breeding center.
Many of the zoo bred snow leopards have been sent from Pnhzp to other high altitude Indian zoos and to foreign zoos as part of animal exchange programmes.
“We are now in the process of selecting places where the captive bred snow leopards can be released in the wild. Thus the project will be complete and the objective attained” added the Director.
The Pnhzp was founded in 1958 and specializes in the captive breeding of endangered Himalayan species including Red Panda, Tibetan Wolf; Blue Sheep, Himalayan Tahr and Satyr Tragopan (crimson horned pheasant.)