A female snow leopard, Hima, has joined the male on exhibit at the
zoo to establish a breeding pair. The animal is part of Miller Park
Zoo's conservation efforts via the Snow Leopard Species Survival
Hima is 2 1/2 years old and just one day older than Rilu,
the male snow leopard who has been at the zoo since 2011. Hima
arrived in Bloomington via the Bronx Zoo. She was born at the Granby
Zoo in Quebec, Canada. The importation process to bring Hima to
Miller Park Zoo took over a year.
The large cats are currently on exhibit in the Katthoefer Animal
Jay Tetzloff, Miller Park Zoo superintendent, serves as national
coordinator of the Snow Leopard Conservation Breeding Program.
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"The snow leopard is an endangered species with a captive population
of about 150 animals at 60 institutions throughout North America,"
Tetzloff says. "We are hoping to see a litter from this pair,
although chances are low for next summer. Hopefully by 2014 we can
see some cubs."
Snow leopards are medium-sized cats, weighing between 60 and 120
pounds and reaching a length of 39 to 51 inches. The animals have
smoky grey fur and a tail that can grow to almost the length of the
cat's body. Snow leopards are native to mountainous regions in
Central Asia and extending from Afghanistan to China.
Miller Park Zoo file received from
Bloomington Parks & Recreation]