Snow Leopards Born at Zoo, Now Exploring Exhibit

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ABQ snow leopard - lg

Kiran and Kalmali, nearly two months old, after their first check-up. Photo by Katie Mast/ABQ BioPark. 

Snow Leopards Born at Zoo, Now Exploring Exhibit

Sept 21, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE, NM— The ABQ BioPark is thrilled to announce the birth of two male snow leopards. Kiran and Kalmali, born July 21, 2011, are beginning to venture into their exhibit with their mother, Kachina, on the Zoo’s Cat Walk.

“Kachina is a great mother, very fierce and protective of her cubs,” said Shelly Dicks, Mammal Supervisor. “The cubs are peeking out after her and coming into the exhibit, but still shy when people are watching. However, when we arrive in the morning, it’s clear they’ve been having a grand old time. They’ve torn up the enrichment and made a mess of the exhibit!”

Snow leopards are endangered, and zoos and conservation organizations around the world are helping to protect them through a Species Survival Plan (SSP). Organized by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the SSP helps arrange adult pairs to maintain genetic diversity. Lynn Tupa, ABQ BioPark Zoo Manager, helps to coordinate the snow leopard SSP.

The BioPark breeding pair is highly compatible.  Under the expert care of BioPark staff, Kachina and Azeo are breeding and raising young with unparalleled success.  The cats have produced a litter each year for five years and have eight offspring throughout North American zoos.  The prolific parents have made the BioPark a leader in snow leopard conservation.

Kachina’s most recent pregnancy and delivery were uncomplicated, and the cubs are thriving. In early September, they each weighed more than 3 kg (6.6 lbs) during their first veterinary exam.

The ABQ BioPark is an accessible facility and a division of the Cultural Services Department, City of Albuquerque, Richard J. Berry, Mayor. For more information, visit or call 311 locally or (505) 768-2000 (Relay NM or 711).




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