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Meet the Zoo's Four Snow Leopards

Azeo, Sarani, Dash and Yeti all have their own personalities.

May 1, 2019 - The ABQ BioPark is currently home to four snow leopards—adults Azeo and Sarani, and young males Yeti and Dash. Learn more about these cats.

AZEO

Azeo the male snow leopard in April 2019.

Azeo has sired 13 snow leopards over the years, 12 with former mate Kachina and one with his new mate Sarani. He is one of the oldest breeding males in Association of Zoos and Aquariums facilities. Keeper Tony York describes him as “super mellow.” Keepers also say Azeo is aging really well and has no known health conditions as of his last physical in March.

SARANI

Sarani the female snow leopard, April 2019.

Sarani is a bit more aloof than her mate Azeo. Although she was shy when she arrived from her former home at Brookfield Zoo in late 2017, she is now very comfortable with her routine here and is slowly building bonds with her keepers. She’s had three litters of her own, including Yeti, and keepers say she's a great mom. 

YETI

Yeti the male snow leopard, April 2019, as a young adult/cub.

Yeti was born in May 2018 and has lived independently from mom Sarani since March. Staff say he's starting to become frisky. “He’s at that young age when cats are playing,” says Keeper Valarie Chavez. He likes soccer balls, along with cardboard boxes and paper bags that he can tear up.

DASH

Dash the young male snow leopard with physical disabilities, April 2019.

Next door is Dash, an extra special snow leopard. After his birth in mid-2018 at Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Kansas, Dash was diagnosed with conditions that affect his eyesight and ability to walk. He was brought to the ABQ BioPark in November 2018 because of our medical resources and snow leopard expertise.

The ABQ BioPark is committed to providing Dash with the best quality of life possible. His habitat is specially designed for him, keeping in mind his blindness and walking difficulties. That’s why you see ramps but do not see high platforms or sharp edges in Dash’s home.

“He’s amazing,” Chavez says, and adds that he’s not showing any signs of distress regarding his physical situation. “He’s running up and down platforms, he’s bouncing off walls,” she laughs. She adds that animals are a lot more resilient than people think. Dash’s favorite toy is a soccer ball, but they don’t last long because he rips them up, Chavez says.

NICE TO MEET YOU

Although Sarani has been at the ABQ BioPark since November 2017, she and Azeo are still in the process of getting to know one another better. That’s because Sarani gave birth to their cub Yeti in May 2018 and had been raising him in a separate exhibit next door to Azeo. As Yeti's move into his own pad approached, keepers started placing Azeo and Sarani together during the day and then moving Sarani back with Yeti at night to get everyone acclimated to the move. Now that Yeti is living independently, Azeo and Sarani have been permanently together since March and York says that the two are building a connection.

Dash and Yeti are also getting to know one another. The two young males have a window between their exhibits, and while they do not interact in the same space, Chavez says that it’s stimulating for them to see another one of their kind.

PLAY BALL

Dash and Yeti both love playing with soccer balls. Here are some photos sent by their keepers.

Dash and a soccer ball, 2019.

Yeti and soccer ball, 2019.