Makalu leaves DZ

We’ve waved off our young snow leopard, Makalu, for a new adventure in India in the most important conservation move DZ has ever been involved in.

snow_leopard_2015_e_makalu_1

Two-year-old Makalu left Dudley Zoo yesterday for Darjeeling Zoo almost 5,000 miles away, as part of a global breeding programme, which could potentially see Makalu’s descendants released into the wild.

snow_leopard_2015_e_makalu_1

Senior Keeper, Sarah Evans, says her goodbyes to Makalu

Curator Richard Brown, said: “We’re hugely proud to be involved in this transfer, which is an incredibly exciting move for Makalu and the snow leopard species in general.

“The international studbook co-ordinator in Finland has identified Makalu as a genetically important snow leopard and recommended him for the move, so we’re proud to play our part in helping secure the future of the endangered species and we’re thrilled with where he’s going.”

snow_leopard_2015_e_makalu_1

snow_leopard_2015_e_makalu_1

Makalu was sedated by zoo vet Peter Stewart to be carried into his crate

Darjeeling Zoo is located in the foot of the Himalayan mountains, which is the native region of the snow leopard and is internationally recognised for its 33-year-old conservation breeding programme for the species, with 56 births to date.

It also has one of the largest captive populations, in a single zoo, in the world and is striving to have a stable captive population of 45 before any wild release is contemplated.

Makalu was collected yesterday afternoon by animal transport specialists, JCS Lifestock with a 36-hour journey ahead of him.

snow_leopard_2015_e_makalu_1

Following an overnight stop in London, Makalu is set to take off at 9.10am today on an Emirates passenger flight to Kolkata, via Dubai, where he’ll be safely contained in the plane’s hold.

Once he lands in India, expected at 8.20am Friday morning local time (approximately 4am here), Makalu will be quarantined at the airport for 30-days, before making the final part of the journey by road to his new home in Darjeeling – arriving at the end of July.

And there’s great news for Makalu, as there’s a group of females ready and waiting, with one set to be matched with our Dudley boy!

snow_leopard_2015_e_makalu_1

Curator Richard Brown completes final checks after Makalu wakes in his crate before departure

But this won’t be the end of our link to our special snow leopard as we’ve pledged to financially support him for the next five years and keep updated with all his news.

Huge thanks to Midlands Today who provided fab coverage of his departure!

snow_leopard_2015_e_makalu_1

And to mark his departure, we’ve taken a lookback at Makalu’s album and picked some of our favourite photos of him from the last two years…

snow_leopard_2015_e_makalu_1

snow_leopard_2015_e_makalu_1   snow_leopard_2015_e_makalu_1

snow_leopard_2015_e_makalu_1

snow_leopard_2015_e_makalu_1

Good luck handsome boy! We’re so proud of you so enjoy your new adventures!