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Leopard cub dies at Banham Zoo

PUBLISHED: 11:07 14 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:45 14 August 2020

One of the Sri Lankan leopard cubs has died at Banham Zoo. Pic: Ian Read

One of the Sri Lankan leopard cubs has died at Banham Zoo. Pic: Ian Read

Archant

Keepers at Banham Zoo in Norfolk are devastated at the death of one of their rare 10-week old Sri Lankan leopard cubs.

One of the rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs has died at Banham Zoo. Pic; ArchantOne of the rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs has died at Banham Zoo. Pic; Archant

The male leopard cub was taken ill in recent weeks but after a full veterinary examination, was believed to have fully recovered.

But he later died on August 13. The cub’s cause of death is currently unknown and a post-mortem examination is being carried out.

The leopard cub, along with his brother, was born to mum Sariska and breeding partner Mias on June 4, 2020.

New pictures of them playing together were released by the zoo only last week.

One of the rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs has died at Banham Zoo. Pic: ArchantOne of the rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs has died at Banham Zoo. Pic: Archant

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Sri Lankan leopard Sariska cleans one of her eight-week-old cubs in their enclosure at Banham Zoo, pictured recently. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA WireSri Lankan leopard Sariska cleans one of her eight-week-old cubs in their enclosure at Banham Zoo, pictured recently. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Sariska and Mias were part of a European breeding programme for endangered species and helped Banham become the first UK animal collection to breed Sri Lankan leopards.

It follows the sadness at Banham after the recent death of female Siberian tiger Sveta during a routine operation. Sveta was having a contraceptive implant operation and died while under anaesthetic, the zoo confirmed.

Following a post-mortem examination it is thought that the cause of her death may have been due to a heart defect.

Gary Batters, joint managing director, Zoological Society of East Anglia, spoke of the leopard cub’s death, saying: “This is devastating news for the keepers and staff who have cared for the leopard cub since his birth in early June. He will be greatly missed by the team here at Banham Zoo.”

It marks the second occasion Sariska and her breeding partner, Mias, have had cubs together, after their first two were born in 2017.

The Zoological Society of East Anglia, the charity which runs Banham Zoo in Norfolk and Africa Alive! in Suffolk, is a partner in the European Breeding Programme for the Sri Lankan leopard, which is one of nine subspecies of leopard.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classify the Sri Lankan leopard as vulnerable, following its last assessment in October 2019, with under 800 mature individuals left in the wild.

As their name suggests, Sri Lankan leopards are native to Sri Lanka and are found in a range of habitats from open savannah to rainforests.


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