Zoo Welcomes New Snow Leopard

Rolling Hills Zoo is welcoming a new member to its animal family. According to the zoo, Sherman, a new snow leopard, has moved who moved from Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, New York.

After completing his 30 day quarantine, Sherman (also known as Silver) has been moved to the Zoo’s snow leopard exhibit where guests may now catch a glimpse of this elusive species in his new home.

Born on May 27, 2019, Sherman was the first offspring of Seneca Park Zoo’s female snow leopard, Timila, and sired by their male, Kaba.  He was raised at Seneca Park Zoo where the Rochester community loved watching him grow up since birth.

At just over 18 months, Sherman has been described as being a spunky character – friendly, outgoing and playfully curious.  He loves toys, boxes, bags, rope knots and scents as his enrichment – allowing him to perform natural behaviors and encouraging him to be more active – satisfying both his physical and psychological needs.

Since his arrival, Sara McGinnis, RHZ Vet Tech, has been caring for Sherman.  When asked about him, McGinnis replied, “He is very friendly and talkative. He likes to interact with his keepers and is capable of making many different vocalizations. He is very playful and likes to hide when he hears you unlocking the door to come in so he can sneak up and surprise you. He’s not very good at hide and seek, but we don’t want to hurt his feelings so we act surprised and tell him he’s very sneaky.”

Sherman has also been training to participate in his own healthcare since he was 6 months old. In talking about his training McGinnis shared, “He knows multiple different behaviors – how to sit, stand up, lie down, and line up for exams and injections. He’s very food motivated and loves his daily meat, bones, bloodcicles, meat baby food, certain organ meats, but certainly not fish. Forget it, no sushi for this guy!”  Sherman will be very loved by staff and the zoo’s guests as he gets settled into his new home.

Known throughout the world for its beautiful coat and elusive behavior, snow leopards live in some of the harshest conditions on Earth.  This elusive cat is facing a number of threats, including poaching and habitat loss.  Its main prey species – wild sheep and goat – are also threatened by illegal or unsustainable hunting in many parts of the snow leopards territory.  Exact numbers are unknown, but there may be as few as 3,920 and probably no more than 6,390 snow leopards left in the wild.  As an active participant in the Association of Zoos & Aquarium’s (AZA) Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP), RHZ is working to move research and knowledge of snow leopards forward in effort to save this species from extinction.  The Zoo also supports the Snow Leopard Trust, an organization with “boots on the ground” in the region where snow leopards live, to both study and save this beautiful species.

In other zoo news, at two months old, Rolling Hills Zoo’s adorable new giraffe calf has been named Korey.  He can now be seen curiously exploring his surroundings from the Giraffe Barn’s Viewing Room, or during warmer weather, outside in the giraffe yard.

To allow for social distancing, the Zoo asks that only one family group be in the Viewing Room at a time   when visiting the Giraffe Barn.  Guests are also asked to keep their voices soft and refrain from banging on the glass as to not startle the giraffes.