April has brought snow showers to the San Diego Zoo. Two snow leopards at the zoo received more than eight tons of snow blown into their Panda Trek area habitat.
Three-year-old Penny and 13-year-old Anna walked around their new snowy surroundings Thursday experiencing the white flakes for the first time.
When they were let back into their new wintry habitat Penny cautiously entered, slightly reluctant to explore. Soon she became more comfortable and began to slide, run, jump and roll through the snow. Anna explored briefly before perching on an overhead walkway, warming herself in the sun and keeping away from the snow.
Three snow leopards live at the zoo including Ramil, an adult male. Snow leopards are native to the cold mountainous regions of Central Asia. They are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, primarily due to habitat loss and poaching. Just 7,000 snow leopards are estimated to exist in the wild today.
The snow, considered an enrichment for the animals, was made possible by a generous donor. Enrichments keep the animals active and allow them to exhibit their natural behaviors.
People who want to help provide enrichments can donate to the zoo’s online Animal Care Wish List.