Pakistan wants snow leopard back from US zoo

2015-06-04 14:31

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Islamabad - Pakistan wants a Himalayan snow leopard back from New York's Bronx Zoo, a minister said on Thursday, almost a decade after the orphaned cub was sent to the United States for better care.

Wildlife officials recovered the cub from a shepherd in the mountains of the northern Gilgit-Baltistan region in 2005 after its mother was apparently killed by hunters, said Climate Change Minister Mushahidullah Khan.

The cub, named Leo, was handed over to the Bronx Zoo the following year under an agreement between the World Conservation Society and the local administration. Pakistan lacked facilities to raise snow leopards at that time, the minister said.

The zoo is to return Leo along with a female mate once they are able to live in a natural habitat, Khan said.

Leo took part in the snow leopard breeding programme at the Bronx Zoo and fathered a cub there, Khan said. Snow leopards are considered an endangered species.

Pakistan has built two facilities for its own snow leopard breeding programme, said Raja Naeem, an official at the Climate Change Ministry.

Two males and two female leopards are already present at these facilities, Naeem said. "The return of Leo and his mate will be a big boost for our breeding efforts," he added.

Read more on:    pakistan  |  us  |  animals

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