New York's Newest Residents
Rare snow leopards make a grand entrance at the Central Park Zoo.
by Allison Maher Stern
For the first time ever, highly endangered snow leopards will be living in the heart of Manhattan at the Central Park Zoo! This new exhibit will allow visitors (more than a million yearly) to observe the magnificent specimens up close. The three leopards were moved into the newly built, state-of-the-art facility in March to give them time to acclimate to their surroundings before the exhibit opens to the public on June 11.
The team at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) duplicated, as closely as possible, the leopards’ natural habitat. With a wild population estimated at only 3,500 to 7,500, snow leopards live in Central Asia, and their range includes the mountainous regions of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, China, Mongolia and Russia.
On June 10 the annual WCS Green Gala will debut the Allison Maher Stern Snow Leopard Exhibit (in my name, thanks to a generous gift from my husband, Leonard) to 1,200 guests, who will savor Great Performance’s organic “100 mile” menu under a canopy of greens designed by Preston Bailey. Each year the event raises more than $1 million in unrestricted income that can be used as needed by the WCS, whose missions are science, education and conservation. Based at the Bronx Zoo, the organization operates the Bronx, Central Park, Queens and Prospect Park Zoos, as well as the New York Aquarium; with field projects in more than 55 countries it is the largest international conservation organization at work today.
I love animals and learning about them. The WCS has offered me the opportunity to work with many people who feel the same. Lucky me! For more information about the Allison Maher Stern Snow Leopard Exhibit and to find out how you can help support the WCS, please visit wcs.org.
FROM TOP: Allison Maher Stern; A snow leopard in action.
photographs by Richard Lewis (STERN); Elyssa Kellerman (SNOW LEOPARD)