Snow Leopard Whose 7 Cubs Helped Conservation Efforts Dies Aged 17
A snow leopard whose seven cubs have made a significant contribution towards conservation efforts has died at the age of 17.
It’s understood that matriach Himani, who was ‘peacefully euthanised’ on Friday February 12, had been battling cancer for the past several months.
Born in June 2003, the beautiful cat was brought to the Cape May County Zoo, New Jersey, in 2009 from Tennessee’s Knoxville Zoo.
As per the Press of Atlantic City, Himani was paired with Vijay, Cape May County Zoo’s male snow leopard upon her arrival, with the pair going on to rear four litters of cubs.
According to a statement from the zoo, Himani ‘proved to be an excellent mother’, going on to raise ‘seven healthy and strong cubs’.
These cubs were then moved to zoos throughout the US, helping towards conservation efforts while continuing Himani’s ‘legacy and genetics to raise cubs of their own’.
Dr Alex Ernst, associate veterinarian at the Cape May County Zoo, said:
Himani was an incredible mother, and an important member of our zoo family, she will certainly be missed by the staff and visitors.
We feel fortunate that she was here with us during the past 12 years. Her contributions to the conservation of her species … are immeasurable.
A Facebook post shared by Cape May County Zoo emphasised the significant impact Himani has had in terms of helping to preserve the future of her species:
Himani’s impact on her caretakers, the Cape May County Zoo and the future of her species can’t be overstated.
Her success in rearing strong healthy cubs contributed valuable bloodlines to the Species Survival Plan population. The cubs born at our Zoo introduced our guests to the rare opportunity to see cubs of one of the most endangered species of animals on the planet.
The attention Himani’s cubs brought to our Zoo gave us national attention and made the Cape May County Zoo known throughout the Country. The bond we had with her was special and she will never be forgotten by our staff and our facility.
According to the WWF, there are approximately 4,000 snow leopards left in the wild, with the species facing various threats.
These threats include poaching – with an estimated 450 snow leopards killed by poachers every year – and climate change, with the high Himalayas warming at three times the global average.
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