Hogle Zoo gets new Amur leopard

Posted at 9:48 PM, Aug 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-22 23:48:11-04

HOGLE ZOO -- A 14-month-old Amur Leopard is the newest addition to Hogle Zoo.

With only 35 to 40 of these big cats in the wild and only 200 in captivity throughout the world, the zoo’s leopard, named Dimitri, will be part of a breeding program.

Because of their near extinction, Hogle Zoo officials say, there is a species survival plan, which pairs the animals with their ideal genetic match.

Officials say they are waiting for Dimitri to get a little bigger before they introduce him to a female leopard.

"Basically a good way to look at it is he's like a scrawny teenager, he just needs to become more mature -- he's just not quite sexually mature, and eventually we would like him to breed with a female," said Tracy Owen, animal car keeper.

Zoo officials plan to introduce Dimitri to his mate in about a year and half.