We are bursting with pride and excitement to share a little secret we’ve been keeping for the past couple of months.
On Friday 26th April our female Snow leopard Laila gave birth to two healthy cubs. These two cheeky, funny and playful cubs are both boys, currently weighing in at just over 2.5kg each. Laila has been an absolutely sensational mum, the best we could have asked for and more! Now at eight weeks following the birth, we’re confident enough in the cubs’ progression to be able to share this wonderful news with you all.
As those who have visited us before may already know, Laila and our male Snow leopard Yarko have had an on-going recommendation to breed as part of the international breeding programme (in conjunction with the studbook keeper) for the past four years. Although each year the pair have successfully mated this unfortunately had not progressed to a pregnancy, until this year.
As a first time mum, we have been very conscious to closely monitor Laila and the cubs health and progress, allowing every step to be taken at her pace. Laila has been absolutely superb in caring for the new arrivals and continues to support and nurture their growth as each day passes. Each of the boys’ characters are already starting to bloom – the smaller, slightly paler boy is much bolder, naughtier and very inquisitive compared to his brother. The larger, darker boy is more timid and cautious, usually wanting to spend more time sleeping and eating, but is often seen enticed into play sessions by his sibling.
Of course, the burning question we imagine you are all wanting to ask is “will I get to see them?”. Currently mum and cubs are being housed within the den areas of their enclosure in order to keep a close eye on them and our keeping team don’t anticipate that the cubs will be in the outside areas for a little while yet. If you are visiting our Sanctuary over the coming months, whether it be for an experience or for our annual Open Days, we cannot at this stage guarantee you’ll be able to see the boys.
We appreciate that there is a lot of excitement regarding when it may be possible for guests and visitors alike to see the cubs as part of the experiences offered here at the Sanctuary. There is no definitive answer to the question as yet; as with all of our residents first and foremost we concern ourselves with their welfare and the decision as to whether opportunities may be available as the cubs grow will be made as part of their ongoing care.
We will also reveal further details on how you will be able to get involved in naming these two handsome boys – keep your eyes peeled!
Please allow us to assure you that we will be making regular updates on the cubs progress and their activities via our usual channels – social media, newsletters and our website – where we hope you’ll be able to get your fix of cuteness!
Please note, these cubs have been bred as part of the global co-ordinated breeding programmes and whilst these individuals won’t be released into the wild, they are ambassadors for their wild cousins and are maintaining genetic diversity in the captive population. All cubs bred by recommendation of these breeding programmes may be used to supplement the wild population in order to maintain genetic diversity of the species should it become viable in the future. The Big Cat Sanctuary is regulated by BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquariums). These organisations regulate our standards of animal care and husbandry. For more information on the Sanctuary, please visit our website on https://thebigcatsanctuary.org/