Snow Leopard cub names revealed
Melbourne Zoo has revealed the names of its three gorgeous snow leopard cubs.
The names were chosen by Zoos Victoria members, with 10,000 votes submitted in recent weeks.
The two female snow leopards cubs have been named Asha and Manju, and the male cub is called Sikari.
Melbourne Zoo Carnivores Keeper Monique Counihan said Zoo staff are thrilled with the members' choice of names for the blue-eyed beauties.
“All those three names suit their personalities perfectly," Miss Counihan said. "We had 10,000 votes, which is amazing, so thank you (to our members) for that."
"Asha is a Hindi name and translated into English it means ‘hope’, which is actually kind of perfect for snow leopards because right now their numbers in the wild are estimated to be fewer than 4000.
“Manju is a Sanskrit word that translated into English means 'snow'.
“Sikari is a Nepali word that translated into English means 'hunter'. He is the first one down for his breakfast, closely followed by little Manju, so I think that is a very apt name."
The three cubs were born to first-time mum Miska on Australia Day and, despite the Zoo being closed to the public, have been entertaining online Zoo visitors from all around the world via the wildly-popular Zoos Victoria livestream, which has already attracted more than two million views.
Miss Counihan said the cubs are healthy and developing rapidly.
“We are starting to see the little cubs grow in confidence and explore more and more every day, further and further into their exhibit,” she said.
“What I really can’t wait for is when the Zoo gates open and you guys rush in here and get to meet them in person. They really are amazing. They are going to take your breath away.”
Snow leopards are among the world's most elusive animals and are classified as vulnerable in the wild, where they live in harsh mountain environments in countries including India, Nepal, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Threats faced by snow leopards in the wild include poaching and mining developments.
As part of a breeding program for the species, the snow cubs’ mum Miska and dad Kang-Ju were introduced at Melbourne Zoo earlier this year and have now contributed to the insurance population of these beautiful creatures.
People at home can continue to watch the cubs, and other Zoo favourites, via the Zoos Victoria live stream cameras at https://www.zoo.org.au/animals-at-home/