SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — After months of physical therapy, the Sacramento Zoo’s leopard cub, Coconut, made his first exhibit debut last week.
According to the Zoo, the 15-week-old cub has been living in an off-exhibit maternity den and enclosure to ensure that he was able to receive his physical therapy sessions in a quiet, controlled space.
Coconut has swimmers syndrome in his rear legs, meaning his legs are “noticeably splayed,” according to the zoo’s blog. He also has eyelid birth defects and may need surgery in the future.
Dr. Ray Wack, the Veterinary director, said Coconut is growing and developing well.
The cub is improving on his ability to walk and jump, but the caretakers say he continues to have a slight outward rotation of both rear feet and patellar luxation of his right knee.
“Coconut is gaining confidence daily by exploring the snow leopard habitat. It has been so much fun to watch him take it all in and begin to explore his new space,” said Erin Dougher, one of Coconut’s primary keepers.
According to the Zoo blog, Coconut got his name from Coconut’s Fish Café in Sacramento. The cafe sponsors the cub and selected his name in honor of their late house cat.
Coconut began his physical therapy earlier this summer, according to the Zoo’s blog.
Coconut’s mother Misha gave birth in mid-May to Coconut and another cub. The second cub passed away a few days after birth.
Misha originally came to the Sacramento Zoo in 2014 from the Denver Zoo as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan.
Misha and the cub’s father, Blizzard, were matched together through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Snow Leopard Species Survival Plan. Veterinarians confirmed in April that Misha was expecting. The gestation period for a snow leopard is approximately 100 days. Snow leopards typically give birth to one to four cubs but the cubs are susceptible to high mortality rates, according to the Zoo. The rates are higher for first-time mothers.
You can read more about Coconut’s recovery on the Zoo’s blog.