Akron Zoo snow leopard cubs named; set to make public debut

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AKRON, Ohio – Meet Malaya and Makalu! These names were chosen for the two endangered snow leopard cubs born on April 14, 2014 at the Akron Zoo. Malaya and Makalu will be on exhibit starting July 4 from 10:15 – 11:15 daily.

The naming contest was sponsored by the Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com and had 1,478 entries. Representatives from the zoo and the Akron Beacon Journal narrowed down the names and zookeepers made the final selection. The people that submitted the winning names received a gift bag full of snow leopard goodies and tickets to the zoo.

The female’s name, Malaya (muh-ley-uh), is in reference to their native habitat the Himalaya Mountains. The male’s name, Makalu (muhk-uh-loo), is a mountain in the Himalayas, on the boundary between Nepal and Tibet.

According to their primary keeper, Sarah Kirkman, Malaya and Makalu are developing distinct personalities. “Malaya is more outgoing and independent. She was the first born, the first to open her eyes, the first to climb out of the nest box and the first to eat meat. She is definitely a go getter and pretty adventurous. Makalu has a calmer disposition, but is very curious. He spends a lot of time interacting with enrichment and new scents.”

Initially the cubs will be out each day for an hour, as they get bigger they will be out for longer spans of time in the coming weeks.

The Akron Zoo is open 361 days a year. The Akron Zoo hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and admission is $11 for adults, $9 for senior citizens, $8 for children (ages 2-14). Children under two are free and parking is $3. For more information visit www.akronzoo.org or call (330) 375-2550.

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