Snow leopard cubs celebrate first birthday at Highland Wildlife Park

Posted 29 May 2023 in Edinburgh Zoo

Snow leopard cubs Maya, Yashin and Padme playing with birthday box to celebrate turning one


The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland has shared photos of snow leopard cubs Maya, Padme and Yashin celebrating their first birthday at Highland Wildlife Park.

Keepers at the wildlife conservation charity helped the youngsters mark the milestone with decorated boxes and a giant number one-shaped piñata full of their favourite tasty treats, and some hair from the park’s Bactrian camels for enrichment. Enrichment, like different sights, smells and experiences, is an important part of the animals' daily care at the park, encouraging them to be more active and improving their mental and physical wellbeing.

The cubs were spotted sharing their presents with mum, Animesh, and dad, Koshi.

Judith van de Voorde, senior carnivore keeper at Highland Wildlife Park, said, “We are all thrilled to wish Maya, Padme and Yashin a happy first birthday. They have settled in so well and are incredibly popular with visitors and staff alike, with their distinct personalities capturing hearts over the last year.

Like all the animals in our care, our snow leopards play an important role in attracting and engaging thousands of visitors each year so they can learn about the threats animals face in the wild and the action they can take to help. Their power to connect people with nature and encourage behaviour change is invaluable.”

Native to the mountain ranges of South and Central Asia, including the Himalayas, snow leopards are threatened due to a decline in available prey and conflict with local farmers. Thankfully, they are now protected throughout much of their native range.