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One of the two new snow leopard cubs at the Seneca Park Zoo has died

Officials at the Seneca Park Zoo say that one of the two male snow leopard cubs born at the zoo recently has died.

The cubs were born to first-time mother Timila on May 27.  At that time, Timila seemed to reject one of her cubs and left him in an outdoor exhibit where he was born.

He was hand fed by zoo staff, and when he was reintroduced to Timila she brought him into her maternity den, and according to Zoo Director  Larry Staub says that from the time she was reunited with the other cubs, “she has appeared to be a very attentive mother.”

Staub also says that because both cubs appeared to be strong during two wellness checks by the zoo veterinarian, staff decided to allow Timila to care for the cubs without further interruption.

Animal care staff checked the den on Tuesday, when they were unable to observe both cubs nursing and found that one cub had died.

Dr. Louis DiVincenti, Assistant Zoo Director, said that because the cub did not have the advantage of being with his mother from birth, officials knew that he would have a difficult road ahead of him. He says that the staff chose not to repeatedly separate Timila from the cubs due to the risk of causing her to abandon both of them. DiVincenti says officials were hopeful that Timila’s nursing skills would outweigh his initial challenge, but unfortunately, that was not the case.

Zoo officials say that while the remaining cubs appears to be growing normally at this time, Animal Care staff will continue to monitor him and are cautiously optimistic that Timila will nurture and rear him appropriately.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.