Until Victoria arrived, the 7-year-old Raj was the lone snow
leopard in Battle Creek. Zoo officials are hoping the pair will
mate and produce a litter of cubs.
The big cats were matched through a Species Survival Program
breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and
Aquarium to make sure they were genetically compatible, the
Battle Creek Enquirer reported.
``They do have a 'dating profile,' so to speak, but it's driven
by science rather than romance,`` said Leslie Walsh, manager of
marketing and development for Binder Park Zoo.
Walsh said the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species
Survival Plan maintains genetic data on the snow leopard
population and makes breeding recommendations focused on the
goal of genetic diversity.
the curator of collections at Binder Park Zoo, said zoo
officials had been watching the animals closely for cues from
Victoria that she's ready to meet Raj.
Mating season for snow leopards is January through mid-March,
followed by a gestation period of 98 to 104 days. The species is
native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia.
The average litter size for snow leopards is two to three cubs.
If Victoria and Raj mate, their cubs will most likely stay at
the Binder Park Zoo until they mature. After that, they would
hopefully receive their own breeding recommendations, Walsh
Last year, Michigan's Large Carnivore Act was amended to
allow accredited zoos to breed large carnivores with a state
Binder Park President and CEO Diane Thompson said the
change in that law allowed the zoo to further its mission of
``When guests see snow leopards at the zoo, it's a special
experience that creates awareness and understanding that we can
make a difference together—for snow leopards and other animals,
too,`` she said in a statement.