On May 31, three snow leopard cubs (2 males, 1 female) were born at Nordens Ark in Sweden. They are still too small to leave the den for the public to see them, but now the Zoo is broadcasting live from inside.
When the Zoo’s adult female had her first litter in 2008 they had a camera mounted and managed to take unique pictures from the birth. Now, they can for the first time broadcast live pictures from inside the lair and show the public what is happening.
But, not only the public can benefit from the camera footage. Field observation of snow leopards is notoriously difficult and frustrating, because the species is so elusive. It wasn’t until 1970 that the now famous scientist George Schaller made the first pictures of a wild snow leopard in the Himalayas, Pakistan’s Chitral Valley — a milestone in wildlife photography. Therefore it is important for international conservation efforts on snow leopards that as much knowledge as possible is gathered about snow leopard behaviour and biology, even from captive situations.
With the new camera, the female and cubs in the den can be followed without any disturbance for the animals. At Nordens Ark we study snow leopard behaviour and may thus gain knowledge that is extremely important for those doing research on snow leopards in the wild, says Ewa Wikberg assistant zoologist at the Nordic Ark.
Nordic Ark is actively involved in efforts to save and preserve the snow leopards. Since 2010 they fund a graduate student who captures and tags snow leopards with a GPS tracking device in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.
A live feed of the snow leopard mum with cubs:
See wild snow leopard cubs in their lair:
(Source: Nordens Ark press release, 20.06.2013)