Sunday, 07 February 2016

Dalton Zoo spots an opportunity to re-home snow leopard

WITH weather forecasters predicting that snow could be on the way soon, South Cumbria’s newest furry resident could soon feel very much at home.

The South Lakes Wild Animal Park celebrated the arrival of a snow leopard at the weekend.

One-year-old Wolfgang travelled all the way from Austria and cut a tired figure yesterday morning as he got used to his new home in Dalton.

Zoo owner David Gill said he had always wanted to bring the rare cats to the park.

He told the Evening Mail: “This is one animal I have dreamt about having for a long, long time.

“Apart from lions and tigers, the big cats I always wanted were jaguars and snow leopards and now we have them all.”

There is thought to be fewer than 2,500 snow leopards left in the wild, with endangered cats roaming the mountain ranges of Central Asia in temperatures as low as -10C.

Wolfgang will be joined by a female counterpart, who is due to arrive from Finland next September, and the park hopes to breed more snow leopards as part of an international conservation programme.

Mr Gill said Wolfgang was named after his Austrian keeper who cared for him, and revealed that he had been trying to help the cat to settle in.

He said: “I’ve been speaking German to him. The words that animals recognise are the words and sounds that they are used to. It’ll just take him a few days to adapt.

“He’ll be fine once he realises that this is home. He has left the people who have been looking after him – it’s just like when someone goes to university.”

Mr Gill said Wolfgang had arrived earlier than expected after the cub’s father became aggressive towards his offspring, but that planning delays for a new expansion at the zoo meant the leopard would have to share an enclosure with the jaguars for the coming months.

He said: “We needed to take him, and it is a bit sooner than we wanted it to be.

“His new facility isn’t created yet, but he is better off here.”

Have your say

These endangered species were never intended to be here. Their demise is probably down to the greed in mankind or the need for mankind to survive. I am opposed to so called wild life parks. I ask this What farmer can make millions out of a few muddy acres.Gill does

Posted by concerned on 1 December 2012 at 14:42

You've just got to appreciate the brilliant conservation work done by David Gill. Why do Barrow Borough Council make everything hard work for him?

Posted by John on 28 November 2012 at 21:56

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