In a recent announcement, the Great Plains Zoo said that one of its snow leopards, Baya, died last week due to a respiratory disease, which they believe has been COVID-19.

While Baya’s death has been felt deeply throughout the zoo’s community as well as overall conservation programs, the animal’s death has also faced doubts about how zoos obtain these types of exotic animals, as well as whether a Sioux Falls zoo will acquire another in the future, in the days following his death.

Following The Death Of A Leopard, Which COVID May Have Caused

The Association of Accredited zoos has certified the zoo, which is one of 240 accredited zoos and aquariums across the globe.

They are allowed to engage in initiatives that promote the reproduction of particular animal populations, such as snow leopards, at their own zoos.

Following The Death Of A Leopard, Which COVID May Have Caused

Even such transfers may take months; they are essential in ensuring that a long-standing goal of animal conservation is carried out in its entirety.

Great Plains Zoo’s Matt Eschenbrenner, director of pet care and conservation, said that the zoo has been engaged in the breeding effort “for a long time.”According to Eschenbrenner, “We want to continue our involvement in snow leopard breeding.” “We have the space to send in a further female to be a part of our breeding effort for the foreseeable future.”

Snow leopards are only accepted into zoos after they have successfully completed an annual report through a reproduction and transfer program, which is part of the Species Survival Plan. The survey looks at the facility as a whole, determining whether it can accommodate another leopard and, if all goes well, whether it has room for future cubs, according to Eschenbreener.

However, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, if a snow leopard passes during the event, the zoo will not get another animal until the next day. “It’s not like, ‘Hey, we’ve got a snow leopard on our hands.'” Please send us another copy. “That’s not how it works in practice,” he said. For now, the survey is being conducted, and Eschenbrenner believes that the zoo will be able to participate in the program in the next year. However, because of all of the discussions that must take place in order to transfer the animal from one zoo to another, the procedure may take several months.

According to their website, the animals that have been transported to various zoos are part of a Survival Of the species Plan, which also aims to increase the genetic variety and ecologically sound population in the wild. Baya was selected especially for Strut, another snow leopard in the zoo, and a full crew was assembled with precise instructions on how to assist the two in their mating. Baya has been a resident of the Plains Zoo since the beginning of 2021.

However, although the breeding as well as transfer program between the zoos is provided free of charge, if any offspring are produced, some will remain with their respective zoos. According to Eschenbrenner, some animals will be sent to other zoos to assist them with future breeding efforts. According to Eschenbrenner, the Sioux Falls Zoo has had 5 cubs born in the late 1990s and early 2000s, all of whom are now adults.