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Incredibly rare Amur Leopard at Beardsley Zoo

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Sofiya the rare Amur Leopard

Sofiya the rare Amur Leopard

In the wild there are only 30-40 Amur Leopards left in the wild and only 176 in captivity worldwide.  One of the newest exhibits at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo features Sofiya, an amazingly rare female Amur leopard that now calls Bridgeport home. She was born on May 10, 2008 at the St. Louis Zoo and now resides in the newly remodeled space that once housed the Andean bear exhibit.

Sofiya’s new exhibit features rock outcroppings that will enable her to explore her surroundings at ground level. It also includes areas as high as 10 feet off the ground, to enable her to view her domain from a different level. Amur leopards have been known to leap more than 10 feet vertically, so Sofiya will have room to stretch her legs. Visitors will be able to meet Sofiya between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. daily, in this new space located next to the lynx exhibit. The exhibit would not have been possible without the support of the City of Bridgeport, the Connecticut Zoological Society, and through the generous donations of zoo patrons.

About Amur leopards

A rare subspecies of leopard that has adapted to life in the temperate forests from Northeast China to the Korean peninsula, they are often illegally hunted for their beautiful spotted fur. The Amur leopard is agile and fast, running at speeds up to 37 miles per hour. Males reach weights of 110 pounds and females up to 90 pounds. They prey on sika, roe deer, and hare, but the Amur leopard has to compete with humans for these animals. Some scientists have reported male Amur leopards remaining with the females after mating, and possibly even helping to rear the young. They live for 10-15 years in the wild, and up to 20 years in captivity.

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo is closer than you think and open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Adult admission (ages 12 & older) is $12.00, children (ages 3 -11) and senior admission (62 and older) is just $10.00, and children under 3 years old are free. Zoo members also are admitted free. Parking at the Zoo is free of charge. For more information about Connecticut’s only zoo visit www.beardsleyzoo.org.

For area information www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com.

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