Three decades of Snow leopards Panther a uncia in captivity



The international studbook for Snow leopards Panthera uncia was established at Helsinki Zoo in 1976. This paper reports on the status of the captive population over the last three decades and contains genetic and demographic analysis using the Single Population Analysis and Records Keeping System computer program. The number of collections maintaining the species has increased from ten in 1961 to 160 in 1991 and the captive population as at 1 January 1992 was 541. A total of 1599 Snow leopards have been listed in the studbook of which 27% (428), one-third of wild-caught and a quarter of captive-bred animals, have bred. The captive population has 53 founders 11 of which are still living. Founder genetic contribution ranges from 0–1 to 8-6% with a mean representation of 1–8±1–95%. As at January 1992 98% of the living population was captive bred.