Although it may not always seem like it, relations between the US and Pakistan are not always based on military cooperation. In fact, one of the biggest commitments has been centered around the rescue of an orphaned snow leopard cub who traveled from a remote area in the mountains of Pakistan to New York City in 2006, an event “heralded as a ground-breaking agreement between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the United States, and a testament to the dedication of the Pakistani people in protecting their natural resources,” exclaimed Richard G. Olson, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan.
Now the two countries have joined together in the celebration of Leo’s first cub, born April 9th to mate Maya. Maya was brought to the Bronx from the Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, Il in November 2012.
“The rescue of Leo as a cub, conducted by two nations, the continued global interest in him, and now the story of his first offspring shows the power of the connections between humans and nature,” added Director of the Bronx Zoo and WCS Executive Vice President of Zoos and Aquarium. Jim Breheny.
The Bronx Zoo has become a world leader in snow leopard care and husbandry, with more than 70 snow leopard cubs born (more than any other zoo in North America). It was also the first zoo to put them on exhibit in the United States, beginning in 1903.
According to the Wildlife conservation Society, there are only an estimated 3,500-7,500 snow leopards still remaining in the wild, spread throughout the remote mountains of Central Asia including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgystan and western China, as well as parts Russia, China, Mongolia, India and Bhutan.
“The cub is on exhibit with its mother until he is fully acclimated to his surroundings. Exhibit times will be intermittent and vary day-to-day,” noted Breheny. For more information readers can contact the Bronx Zoo at 718 220-5100.