The Living Desert welcomes endangered leopard

10-year-old female leopard is named Zoya

PALM DESERT, Calif. - The Living Desert is welcoming its newest animal; a 10-year-old female leopard named Zoya. Zoo officials said the Amur leopard was transferred from the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo in Indiana on Tuesday, November 19th.

"We're thrilled to have a magnificent new leopard here at the park, and look forward to our guests getting to know Zoya," says Stacey Johnson, President & CEO of The Living Desert.  "Amur leopards are the most endangered leopards, and we're proud to support the Species Survival Plan."

Zoya weighed about 92 pounds when she arrived at The Living Desert and is currently in special care and being quarantined to monitor her health, well-being and behavior in the new surroundings, officials said. As soon as she's acclimated to her new home and passes all her health exams, she'll live in the area outside the District Commissioner's House.

Zoo officials tell us that Amur leopards are graceful and powerful big cats closely related to lions, tigers, and jaguars. They differ from other leopard subspecies because they have a thick coat of spot-covered fur. Most are light colored with distinctive dark spots that are called rosettes, because they resemble the shape of a rose.

Zoya's arrival at The Living Desert is special because there are only about 40 Amur leopards left in the wild, and about 300 in managed zoo breeding programs. Officials said Zoya was born at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans in 2003.

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