Milnthorpe zoo waves goodbye to popular snow leopard

Lots of us are looking to brighten up this gloomy time of year by planning journeys to somewhere hot or exotic.

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 3:46 pm
Baby Chris at three months.
Baby Chris at three months.

Staff at Milnthorpe’s Lakeland Wildlife Oasis have been waving goodbye to one of their most popular residents, setting out on his own exciting and critical journey.

Chris the snow leopard cub, born at the zoo in May 2018, has packed his case and is heading for Zurich zoo, where a prospective partner, also from a British zoo, is waiting for an introduction.

While staff were sad to wave Chris off (in his special cubicle on Eurostar), they can rightfully celebrate the vital role their quiet corner of Cumbria plays in global conservation.

Tara on the left, Chris on the right.

Snow Leopards are listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the red list of most at-risk animals, with fewer than 8,000 estimated remaining in the wild.

The zoo has made a big impact since joining the European Breeding Programme in 2011, with Chris the third cub born to the zoo’s resident pair, Tara and Pavan.

Daughter Luna, born at the zoo in 2014, has also helped further their survival by producing her own litter in Europe in 2017.

Zoo manager Jack Williams said: “I appreciate how special Chris is to our visitors, he was born the weekend I became zoo manager, so I felt we had a bond! He was even named by children visiting the zoo.

“It’s a real honour to be part something as important as the captive breeding programme, and we’ll be following his future adventures.”

This isn’t the only spring ‘journey’ the zoo is embarking on. With exciting new arrivals and exhibits, this half term is packed with activities themed around ‘journeys’.

Visitors are being invited to pack their trunks and set the compass for adventure, with special events following science and nature’s greatest journeys throughout half term week, February 15-24.

Included in the regular admission price, daily activities will include special keeper talks, quizzes and adventure trails.

Visitors can discover spectacular animal and bird migrations to perhaps the most significant scientific expedition of all time, Darwin’s voyage of discovery on the ‘Beagle’.

The Lakeland Wildlife Oasis is open for voyages of discovery seven days a week, 10am until 5pm.

To keep up with their 100+ amazing animals, new exhibits, and half term journeys of adventure, go to www.wildlifeoasis.co.uk; and check out ‘Lakeland Wildlife Oasis’ on Facebook for daily updates and pictures.