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The original item was published from 10/24/2013 2:02:00 PM to 12/1/2013 12:05:01 AM.

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Posted on: October 10, 2013

[ARCHIVED] Sunset Zoo Welcomes New Residents Including Leopard

Amur Leopard

Image of Sunset Zoo's new Amur Leopard, Vladamere, courtesy of Utah's Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City.

October 10, 2013, Manhattan, KS – Manhattan’s Sunset Zoo is home to several new additions – a female bobcat, a pair of sun conures (sun parakeets), eight prairie dogs and a male Amur leopard. All of the animals are doing well and, except for the leopard, all have completed the Zoo’s quarantine process and are now on public exhibit.

“As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) we regularly transfer animals from one institution to another in an effort to maintain healthy populations among our facilities,” said Scott Shoemaker. “The mild weather we’re enjoying across the country makes fall an ideal time.”

Animals typically travel by vehicle, depending on the distance between the two institutions, or by commercial plane. As part of the transfer process, stringent standards are in place to ensure animal safety is the highest priority. Weather becomes a huge factor and significant energy is spent on finding the ideal conditions that will cause the least amount of stress on the animal.

Millie, the female bobcat, is five months old and joins the Zoo’s relatively new male cub, Mittens, along the Kansas Plains Trail. Millie, like Mittens, is an orphaned animal from Milford Nature Center. The pair of sun conures, Marty (female) and Tico (male), are now viewable in the Zoo’s caiman exhibit. Guests are encouraged to look for the brightly-colored birds high in the tree tops; the animals come from Springfield, Missouri’s Dickerson Park Zoo. Finally, the eight male prairie dogs traveled from Wichita’s Sedgwick County Zoo and bring Sunset’s colony to a dozen animals.

The nine-year-old Amur leopard, Vladamere, arrived earlier this week from Utah’s Hogle Zoo and will be joined this fall by an eleven-year-old female from Pennsylvania’s Erie Zoo. The male leopard will tentatively be on exhibit by late October or early November, following a healthy quarantine process. The female is expected to arrive in the next few weeks; following her quarantine process and a successful introduction between the two animals, she should also be out on exhibit later this fall. The animals will reside in the old snow leopard exhibit along the Asian Forest Trail.

Amur Leopards are very similar to snow leopards in look, size, habitat needs and care. Zoo staff made the decision to transition to the new species due to its critical population needs. The Amur leopard is facing extinction, estimates are less than 30 in the wild, and a very limited number of animals reside at AZA institutions. Sunset Zoo has received an AZA recommendation to breed the pair, increasing their global population and providing a platform to bring awareness to this amazing feline’s plight.

To learn more about Sunset Zoo or to plan a visit, visit or call 785-587-APES.

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