The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park in Darjeeling, northern India has launched a two year project to research the nocturnal behavior of its snow leopards by keeping the animal under infra-red camera surveillance. The zoo, which has had a successful breeding program for many years, currently has six female and five male snow leopards. The most recent births were 3 cubs born in April 2009 to Neeta (female) and Karan (male).
“Even though other animals have been kept under surveillance, this is the first time that the snow leopard is being studied in this manner. We want to record the animal’s behavior at night,” said A.K. Jha, the director of the zoo.
The Central Zoo Authority, the governing authority for all zoos in India will over see the project.
The zoo lies at an altitude of over 2000 m so is ideally suited for snow leopards whose habitat is from 2000 m to 4000 m. At this altitude the zoo is able to specialise in breeding animals adapted to alpine conditions, and has successful breeding programs for not only snow leopards but other animals that share its habitat, like the critically endangered Himalayan wolf. The zoo is spread over 44 hectares and attracts 300,000 visitors every year.