The Cape May County Zoo has a new addition: an 8 year old female snow leopard named Maliha.

According to the zoo’s website, Maliha comes from the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island. She will be paired with the zoo’s male snow leopard, Bataar. The two snow leopards have been paired to continue the zoo’s successful breeding program.

Maliha was sent to the Cape May County Zoo by the Species Survival Plan (SSP) as a strong genetic match for Bataar.

The arrival of Maliha follows the death of 17 year old Himani. Himani successfully raised four litters of cubs, boosting the zoo’s Species Survival Program at a time when snow leopard breeding success was at a low point. The success in breeding the big cats garnered national attention for the zoo.

The snow leopard’s habitat is central and south Asia in mountainous regions. They can live over 20 years in captivity. Due to their elusive nature, an exact lifespan in the wild is uncertain. Snow leopards are considered endangered and are facing extinction. It is believed that there are between 3,000-7,000 left in the wild.

Males are 30% larger than females and weigh up to 120 pounds. Females can be as small as 77 pounds. Their tail is the whole length of their body and can be up to 45 inches in length.

The Cape May County Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. The park and zoo are free, but donations can be made to the zoo via Social distancing and masks are required for those over age 2. Visitors are asked to follow directional signage to maintain social distance while in the zoo.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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