Hogle Zoo snow leopard expecting cub in June

Babs the snow leopard is at Hogle Zoo. Utah's Hogle Zoo made a pregnancy announcement on behalf of Babs. 

Babs the snow leopard is at Hogle Zoo. Utah's Hogle Zoo made a pregnancy announcement on behalf of Babs.  (Hogle Zoo)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's Hogle Zoo made a pregnancy announcement on behalf of its snow leopard, Babs.

Babs is expecting her first cub in early June. The zoo said that the animal care and health teams are monitoring Babs closely as she progresses through her three-and-a-half-month pregnancy.

Babs came to Utah from the Toledo Zoo in Toldeo, Ohio, in 2021 on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan.

Since that time, Babs was paired with Chim, an 11-year-old snow leopard, and became pregnant following their first breeding season together. It will be 4-year-old Babs' first cub.

"Under human care and in their natural habitats, first-time moms across animal species have a much steeper learning curve than experienced moms. We collaborate with other AZA-accredited zoos to continually develop our knowledge and understanding of snow leopard pregnancies and births and work to facilitate natural processes for resident animals," Clair Hallyburton, the associate director of animal care, said.

"Our animal care and health teams have been doing voluntary ultrasounds with Babs, adjusting her diet, continuing training sessions, planning overnight watches, and monitoring camera systems to help prepare Babs and the zoo," she added.

The zoo explained in its release that first-time snow leopard moms don't always have successful births, meaning there is a chance the cub may not survive the pregnancy or birth.

Snow leopards are found throughout Asia in the southern Himalayas west through Pakistan and north to the Russian mountain ranges.

Snow leopards have unique pale grayish-white coats that provide natural camouflage to their remote surroundings. The release explained, "Snow leopards have evolved to live in some of the most remote environments and are often referred to as the 'ghost of the mountains.'"

Threatened by several factors including habitat loss, illegal hunting, and declines in species to prey on, snow leopards are classified as a vulnerable species.


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