The newest Potter Park Zoo resident is ready for his close-up with the public.
Taza, a male snow leopard, arrived at the Lansing zoo from Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo in May following a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan Program.
Taza was born July 19, 2013. Since his arrival, Taza has been getting to know his caretakers and becoming comfortable with moving around off-exhibit spaces.
“We knew he was a shy cat, based on the information shared by his previous zoo,” said Pat Fountain, Potter Park’s animal care supervisor. “So it was important that the zookeepers established a good relationship with him right from the start.”
Taza came to Potter Park Zoo with training in several behaviors that will help facilitate his husbandry care, and Potter Park animal care staff is continuing to reinforce those behaviors.
Recommendations from the Species Survival Plan Program aim to ensure the survival of designated species by having a genetically diverse and healthy population in zoos and aquariums. Those recommendations can result in the need to move an animal to a new zoo.
“Right now, Potter Park Zoo is the best place for Taza to be, and we’re very excited to have him here,” said Fountain.
Currently, there are 140 snow leopards in 52 Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facilities in North America.
Potter Park Zoo guests can see Taza in the snow leopard exhibit. The zoo, 1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave. in Lansing, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
*Photo credit: Ash Seymour | Potter Park Zoo