Join our zoo community

Wellington Zoo Snow Leopards in 2016

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by Nisha, 11 Jun 2015.

  1. Nisha

    Nisha Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    24 Jun 2009
    Posts:
    5,752
    Location:
    Chester - UK
    Snow Leopards are coming to New Zealand: Wellington has unveiled an artists impression of the new exhibit which is planned to be open by the end of 2016 subject to funding - The leopards themselves are expected to be sourced from the USA and/or Europe

    From the Himalayas to windy Wellington: snow leopards are on the way.

    Plans to introduce the animals to Wellingtonians are pushing ahead, provided the zoo can secure $3 million in funding.

    Wellington Zoo updated Wellington City Council's environment committee last week on its plans for its next big exhibit: a snow leopard enclosure replacing the old sun bear home, to complete the zoo's Asia precinct.

    he display of big cats from Central Asia could be open to the public by September 2016 if all goes to plan, Wellington Zoo's acting chief executive Amy Hughes said.

    "Once we secure some funding, we're ready and raring to go."

    The zoo had missed out on funding in Wellington City Council's long-term plan, but hoped to be able to secure cash when capital spending was reviewed mid-year, she said.

    Designs and final costings were being done, but it would not cost more than $3m.

    Transport costs to get the snow leopards here, probably from the United States or Europe, would come out of other budgets.

    Councillor Iona Pannett, chairwoman of the environment committee, said some funds could become available in mid-year if planned capital projects could not go ahead for any reason. If so, the zoo would be measured against other projects that were ready to go as a way of getting some tangible projects completed.

    "It would be really exciting, so it's definitely not being dismissed at this point ... you always do need to be thinking about adding some new animals to the mix."

    Hughes said the snow leopards would be an exciting addition to the zoo if it went ahead, as they would be New Zealand's first.

    There were only about 7000 of the cats left in the world, so it was an opportunity to teach people about the animals and the efforts to save them, she said.

    Snow leopards are used to extreme weather in their natural habitat, which ranges from southern Siberia to the Tibetan plateau, so they ought to be able to cope with Wellington's wind chill. They had big thick tails, which they wrapped around them like blankets, Hughes said.

    They would be the zoo's next big project after the completion of its $21m 10-year development that included building The Nest animal hospital, creating the Asian Precinct, and the development of the Meet the Locals precinct, which will open later this year.


    Snow leopards could be in Wellington by end of 2016 | Stuff.co.nz
     
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    16,335
    Location:
    omnipresent
    "[Wellington Zoo's acting chief executive Amy] Hughes said the snow leopards would be an exciting addition to the zoo if it went ahead, as they would be New Zealand's first."

    <sigh>

    Anyway, below is attached the artist's impression (from Nisha's article), where the old sun bear enclosure has had a mesh roof put over top.

    Exciting news.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    1 Aug 2010
    Posts:
    4,574
    Location:
    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    Should be a good addition to the Zoo I think, and will make a great use of the old bear exhibit. It doesn't appear that the exhibit will be extended at all (just roofed over), but I guess this will mean they can make better use of the moat space. Is it just going to be a single exhibit? Would this mean if they had multiple individuals the others would need to be off display?

    Its also nice that they are importing new animals from Europe/USA, and not just taking the Australian surplus. Is there much hope for the Australasian programme in general? Are any of the Australian animals in breeding situations?

    I like how the NZ exotic mammals thread is quoted in the comments :cool:
     
  4. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    16,335
    Location:
    omnipresent
    breeding pairs at Melbourne, Mogo and Billabong (the latter has Taronga's pair). Mogo in particular has done very well at breeding. Most of the breeding animals were originally imported from Europe.

    ha, that is funny! I note the article has now changed the words attributed to the zoo's acting chief executive: "Hughes said the snow leopards would be an exciting addition to the zoo if it went ahead, as they would be the only ones in New Zealand."
     
  5. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    1,004
    Location:
    New Zealand
    How is this project progressing? Is it still on track for the end of 2016?

    It's fantastic they can put the old Sun Bear enclosure to good use. While not particuarly inspiring for sun bears, it's steep gradient and rocky terrain is perfect for snow leopards.

    Hoping breeding of these animals continues in Australia, and this isn't gonna be a repeat of the Golden Cat situation where they all give up as New Zealand gets started.

    Embarassing Wellington Zoo didn't know they had snow leopards back in the 1980s, although to be fair I wouldn't have known either if it were not for Chlidonias' thread on Exotic mammals. I noticed in 2006 when Auckland welcomed their cheetah, they said they were the first at Auckland Zoo. According to 'Tiger by the Tail' they were held at Auckland in the 1920s, and possibly at other times throughout the zoo's history.

    Also...snow leopard question. They always seem to produce twins. Are single births or triplets occasionally reported (I'm not counting instances where one of the twins has died at birth and one cub emerges from the den weeks later).
     
  6. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    13 Jun 2007
    Posts:
    16,335
    Location:
    omnipresent
    the zoo's 2015 report says "We are busy making plans to acquire Snow
    Leopards in the coming few years", and further that "We are yet to secure funding to build this exhibit." So the wait may be a bit longer than this year.
     
  7. Zoofan15

    Zoofan15 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    1,004
    Location:
    New Zealand
    That's disappointing, though not surprising considering the developments the zoo have undertaken recently. Hopefully they can secure a sponsor for the exhibit. Snow leopards are a high profile, some may even argue a flagship species so should be easier to find a sponsor than less charismatic species.
     
  8. Nikola Chavkosk

    Nikola Chavkosk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2016
    Posts:
    1,307
    Location:
    Prilep, R. Macedonia
    Why building of enclosures is so expensive? I think I could open wonderfull small zoo completed for about 100,000 US dolars? I think the prices are unreal.