Zoo reports deaths of rare snow leopard and her cubs

Shila the snow leopard was part of a conservation breeding programme at the zoo.

File picture of snow leopard Shila, who died at Ähtäri Zoo on 30th April 2019 / Credit: Ähtäri Zoo

Ähtäri Zoo says female snow leopard Shila and two cubs died on Vappu Eve.

It happened as the big cat was giving birth to the cubs, and the zoo says serious complications occurred.

Although big cat births are usually problem-free, zoo officials say complications can happen especially during first time pregnancies. This was Shila’s first pregnancy.

In a statement the zoo said they were overwhelmed with sorrow at Shila’s death, especially as she and her cubs were part of an important conservation programme.

Snow leopards are considered as a ‘vulnerable’ species with fewer than 10,000 individuals left in the wild. They’re native to Central and Southern Asia and live in alpine conditions.