The Akron Zoo’s snow leopard Shanti has birthed her eighth cub in eight years.

The latest cub was born April 29 at the zoo, and is in a private “cubbing area,” the zoo revealed Wednesday.

The female cub — which weighed 1 pound at birth and now weighs 5 pounds — will remain there until later this summer. The cub has no name; the zoo will have a naming contest at a later date.

The cub was born with a relatively common eye defect in snow leopards — colobomas — and zoo officials may decide later on that she needs corrective surgery.

“Aside from her eyes, she is thriving in every way,” Dr. Brittany Rizzo, director of animal health at the Akron Zoo, said in a news release. “Shanti is taking great care of her little girl, which we are very happy to see.”

Zoo personnel noticed an abnormality in her eyelids, and she was diagnosed with colobomas.

Multiple ocular colobomas (MOC) can cause abnormalities to parts of the eye, varying in severity and can include the eyelids, iris and optic nerves.

“We plan to monitor the cub closely and allow her eyes to develop a little more,” Rizzo said. “When she is a little bigger, we will decide the best course of treatment for her.”

Shanti previously welcomed two cubs in 2012, two cubs in 2014 and three cubs in 2016 with her previous mate, Roscoe.

Snow leopards are native to the Himalayan mountain range in central Asia and have been facing habitat loss and poaching due to the illegal fur trade, as well as human conflict.

 

Reach Katie Byard at 330-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com.