The snow leopard cubs that were born March 5, 2016, will make their first public appearance on Friday, June 3, 2016. The cubs were briefly on exhibit today with their mother Shanti and picked their own names. The two males are now named Layan, short for Himalayan Mountains, and Altai, named after the Altai Mountains. Snow leopards are indigenous to both mountain ranges. The female cub is named Asha, which means “Hope” in Sanskrit.
The cubs will be out daily from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and as they get bigger they will be out for longer spans of time in the coming weeks. The naming contest, which was sponsored by Akron Children’s Hospital, yielded 6,710 submissions, making it the largest naming contest in the history of the zoo.
The zoo had narrowed down the names to six possible choices and wrote those names on an enrichment item and placed it into the snow leopard exhibit before they went outside. Once the keepers shifted Shanti, the cub’s mother, and the cubs out onto exhibit the cubs approached the tubs with the names painted on them. The cubs went to the enrichment items with Layan, Altai and Asha first, thus picking their own names. The people who submitted the winning names will be getting free admission to the zoo and a snow leopard prize pack.