The first ever pair of snow leopard cubs that were born at the Akron Zoo last year are now leaving the zoo as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP). Sabu will be heading to the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, RI and Raj will be going to the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, MI in March.
Raj and Sabu were born on May, 14, 2012 and made their public debut on exhibit on August 13, 2012. The zoo held a public naming contest for the cubs which garnered 3,852 votes. Raj means king or ruler in India and Sabu is the Tibetan word for snow leopard.
When they were born the male cubs weighed about 2 lbs. and presently they weigh about 55lbs. Raj is headed to the zoo where his mother, Shanti, was born and where his grandmother, Lotus, currently resides. The Akron Zoo does have another breeding recommendation for Shanti and the cubs’ father, Roscoe. Until the cubs leave in early March they will be on exhibit daily. Updates on their departure will be posted on www.akronzoo.org, www.facebook.com/akronzoo and at www.twitter.com/akronzoo.
“It will be difficult to see Raj and Sabu move on but they are going to two wonderful AZA accredited zoos. It has been thrilling to have Raj and Sabu here in Akron and our animal care and veterinarian staffs have done an amazing job through this whole process. It makes us very proud to think about the awareness Raj and Sabu have created about this endangered species and how much enjoyment our community had in seeing them grow up over the last 9 months,” commented Akron Zoo President & CEO L. Patricia Simmons.
Snow leopards are an endangered species primarily due to loss of habitat, illegal poaching for their pelts and body parts and killings by local herders when a snow leopard has preyed on their livestock. There are only 155 snow leopards in the SSP in the U.S. and there are believed to be as few as 4,000 left in the wild. Snow leopards
cannot roar. Instead of roaring, the snow leopard makes noises like hissing, mewing, chuffing, growling and wailing. Snow leopards can leap farther than any other cat, reaching distances of well over forty feet in a single bound.
The Akron Zoo is open 361 days a year. The Akron Zoo hours are 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and admission is $6 per person. Children under two are free and parking is $2. For more information visit www.akronzoo.org or call (330) 375-2550.