NABU starts snow leopard webcam in the Neunkircher Zoo.
(Press release: NABU, March 2020, photo: istockphoto.com/abzerit)
Neunkirchen - To bring nature lovers closer to the fascinating snow leopards despite the currently closed zoos and to draw attention to their danger, NABU will launch three webcams on March 31 at the Neunkircher Zoo. At www.NABU.de/leos-live, the cameras broadcast the life of the Neunkirch snow leopard pair "Sagar" and "Luisa" from the outdoor enclosure and the litter box. If "Luisa" has cubs as hoped, the animals can even be observed during the birth and rearing of their offspring.
"With the snow leopard webcam, we primarily want to convey knowledge about a critically endangered but unfortunately relatively unknown animal species," said Thomas Tennhardt, NABU Director International.
“The spectators can experience the rare snow leopards that actually live so far away from us up close, accompany them and learn to understand them. We see this as an opportunity to use the two Neunkirchen snow leopards as ambassadors of their kind to draw attention to the urgent situation of the wild snow leopards and their need for protection, ”continued Tennhardt.
Stock "at risk"
With a worldwide population of only 4,000 to 6,400 animals, snow leopards are classified as “endangered” according to the Red List. The shy big cats, which are at home in the barren high mountains of Asia, are hunted in the wild mainly because of their beautiful fur, but also because of their bones. The latter are popular means in traditional Chinese medicine. In addition, humans increasingly dispute the habitat for them and their prey and there are always conflicts with local shepherds. In addition, climate change also threatens their habitat. NABU has been successfully protecting snow leopards in the wild for 20 years and has so far made a significant contribution to reducing poaching.
Rare even in zoos
In Germany there are a total of twelve zoos in which they are kept, including since 2013 the Neunkircher Zoo, where the almost eight-year-old snow leopard couple lives.
“In times of the Corona crisis, when we have to close our zoo for so long for the first time and people have to spend a lot of time at home, we are particularly pleased about the opportunity to bring people closer to the experience of rearing snow leopards via a webcam to be able to, ”says Dr. Norbert Fritsch, Zoo Director of the Neunkircher Zoo.
"The Neunkircher Zoo has long been associated with the snow leopard project of the NABU and is also committed to the conservation of the species with its participation in the European conservation breeding program (EEP) for snow leopards." The aim of the EEP is to have at least a reserve population in zoological gardens Form 200 genetically different snow leopards. Luisa, at least, is providing genetic diversity for the snow leopard offspring hoped for this year in Neunkirchen: her grandmother Dshamilja was born in the wild and was released from the hands of poachers by NABU as a young animal in Kyrgyzstan. In order to save her life, she was brought to Germany and cared for healthily.
Sponsorship as a start
As early as 2016, NABU and the Neunkircher Zoo let snow leopard friends take part in the birth and rearing of the snow leopard twins "Anusha" and "Askar" via a webcam. The then Federal Minister for the Environment, Barbara Hendricks, took over the sponsorship of the two snow leopards in the presence of the then Saarland Prime Minister and today's CDU Chairman Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.