We spent some time with our friends at the Memphis Zoo learning about their beautiful snow leopards, Ateri and Darhan.
We recently got to spend a little bit of time checking out the snow leopards at Memphis Zoo, and like other members of the big cat family, we found that snow leopards really are just that: big cats. They love to lounge around their habitat, taking cat naps (pun very much intended) and playing with their toys that have been spread across their exhibit. While they do look very cute and cuddly, they are still predators, and though not quite as big as lions or tigers, their agility makes them a formidable foe for any of their prey.
Snow Leopards in the Wild
Snow leopards, like the ones at Memphis Zoo, are mostly located in the cold, rugged, mountainous regions of Central Asia. Although more than 60 percent of their population lives in China, snow leopards are indigenous to 11 other countries, like Nepal, India, and Russia. Unfortunately, snow leopard numbers are declining due to illegal poaching, and harvesting of parts for traditional Chinese medicines.
More on the Snow Leopards at Memphis Zoo: Ateri and Darhan
Memphis Zoo is fortunate enough to be home to a pair of beautiful snow leopards, Ateri and Darhan. The pair are female and male, respectively, and as mentioned, love to spend their time lazing about the rocky tops of their exhibit. The keepers at the Zoo often put “enrichment” all around their habitat, to help them feel a little more home and exhibit more natural behaviors in their habitat. This enrichment usually consists of treats, along with tons of different scents, like scents from capybara and red pandas. Another scent often included is cinnamon, which the big cats seem to love. The keepers say sometimes they react to cinnamon as if it were catnip!
For more info on snow leopards at Memphis Zoo, visit their website here.