SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Hogle Zoo wants the public to help them decide what to name their new pair of Amur leopard cubs before midnight on Sunday.
The two cubs, a boy and a girl, were born at Hogle Zoo on March 19th, 2020, the newest litter of leopards Zeya and Dimitri. In total, Zeya and Dimitri have had three litters, including male cubs Roman and Rafferty in 2017, a female cub named Jilin in 2018, and the newest additions to the family.
The name options, Storm and Skye or Ren and Kai, were selected by the leopard cubs’ caretakers at the zoo’s Asian Highlands Exhibit, according to Hogle Zoo’s website. Votes on the names are $5 each, and the application reads “all donations will be used to benefit the zoo amid these challenging times.”
Currently, the names Storm and Skye reign with 199 votes, with Ren and Kai trailing slightly with 119. The winners of the contest will be announced in the following days after the contest closes on Sunday night.
Many zoos have turned to social media and fundraising to stay afloat after the coronavirus pandemic forced closures, and reopened zoos with social distancing guidelines struggle with decreased revenue and guests. Revenue is used to help feed animals, provide veterinary care, and pay staff who give animals their necessary attention.
The Amur Leopard was listed as critically endangered in 2008 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and remains on their red list of endangered species as the wild population continues to decline. There are roughly 80 Amur Leopards in the wild along the border between Russia and China. Conservation efforts are critical for the species’ survival.