Conservation Status: IUCN Red List - Endangered
Threats to Survival: Prey base depletion; illegal trade; conflict with local people over livestock depredation
Enhancing the Population
Since 1963, San Diego Zoo Global has bred more than a dozen snow leopards and we support the conservation efforts of our partners by strategically exchanging animals with other breeding institutions to maintain genetic diversity in the North American population. With representation on the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Felid Taxon Advisory Group, San Diego Zoo Global is actively involved in breeding and exchange decisions relevant to the snow leopard’s survival.
Understanding Reproductive Sciences
The Institute’s Endocrinology Lab monitors the hormone cycles of the Zoo’s snow leopards to determine if females are experiencing normal estrous cycles and to diagnose pregnancy. We investigate the possible causes of infertility in breeding pairs by evaluating hormone profiles and collecting semen to determine which partner is contributing to reproductive failure. We perform semen collection and evaluation procedures for other institutions holding snow leopards and interpret the data we gather in order to improve breeding programs.
Partnering for Greater Impact
San Diego Zoo Global is a proud supporter of the Snow Leopard Natural Partnerships Program, a global collaborative program of over 70 zoos. The Natural Partnerships Program focuses on supporting community-based conservation and applied research, as well as conservation education programs in Asia. The program also supports livestock vaccination and husbandry programs and conducts field surveys with radio-collaring and camera trap identification of individual leopards. In addition, research works to identify habitat in need of protection and helps develop alternative sources of income for local people.