Dudley Waves Goodbye To Youngest Snow Leopard

Dudley Zoo has bid farewell to its youngest snow leopard who’s left for a new home almost 5,000 miles away.

Two-year-old Makalu left the Black Country for Darjeeling Zoo as part of a global breeding programme, which could potentially see his descendants released into the wild. Curator Richard Brown, said:

“We’re hugely proud to be involved in this transfer, which is an incredibly exciting move for Makalu and the snow leopard species in general.

“The international studbook co-ordinator in Finland has identified Makalu as a genetically important snow leopard and recommended him for the move, so we’re proud to play our part in helping secure the future of the endangered species and we’re thrilled with where he’s going.”

Darjeeling Zoo is located in the foot of the Himalayan mountains, which is the native region of the snow leopard and is internationally recognised for its 33-year-old conservation breeding programme for the species, with 56 births to date.

It also has one of the largest captive populations, in a single zoo, in the world and is striving to have a stable captive population of 45 before any wild release is contemplated. Makalu was collected on Wednesday afternoon by animal transport specialists, JCS Lifestock with a 36-hour journey ahead of him.

He's due to arrive in India early on Friday morning and will be quarantined at the airport for 30 days, before making the final part of the journey by road to his new home in Darjeeling – arriving at the end of July.

However, this won’t be the end of Dudley's link to the big cat as bosses have pledged to financially support the leopard for the next five years.


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