When you think of Valentine’s Day, you think of snow leopards….Well, not really, but the folks at Turtle Back Zoo do. They are playing matchmaker and preparing a very special introduction for Gala, the zoo’s resident male snow leopard—Chameli, a nine-month-old snow leopard.
Chameli will make her Turtle Back Zoo debut on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14 at 10 am. Chameli means jasmine flower in Hindu. She was transferred from the Cape May Zoo on a breeding loan as part of a recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums species survival plan two months ago. This is the first time in the zoo’s history to have a pair of snow leopards on site.
“Turtle Back Zoo’s newest family member marks a very exciting time for us,” said Dr. Jeremy Goodman, Director, Turtle Back Zoo. “The pair of snow leopards holds a promising future for these majestic endangered cats and for the continued growth of the zoo.”
For now, Chameli and Gala will rotate hours in the zoo’s Amazing Asia exhibit, but there is a bright future ahead for these majestic animals. Once Chameli is large enough, the snow leopards will be on exhibit together, another first for the zoo. They will be paired up in the hopes of bringing new life to Turtle Back Zoo in the form of snow leopard cubs.
Visitors can help the zoo take care of its snow leopards by “adopting” one on the zoo’s website.