The Potawatomi Zoo has a new Amur leopard, Anastasia, seen Tuesday. PHOTOS BY CHLOE TROFATTER/SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE
The Potawatomi Zoo has a new Amur leopard, Anastasia, seen Tuesday. PHOTOS BY CHLOE TROFATTER/SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE
SOUTH BEND — The newest arrival at the Potawatomi Zoo has no clue that she’s now living at the birthplace of her mother and the longtime home of her recently deceased grandmother.

Now, it’s just a matter of time before the zoo finds out whether Anastasia, a 2-year-old Amur leopard, will become part of the conservation plan to bring the critically endangered species back from the brink of extinction.

For now, the zoo is just happy to have a young leopard to fill the habitat that was occupied since 2003 by her grandmother Pearl, who became a bit of a rock star in the Species Survival Plan by raising nine cubs with two different fathers during her time at the zoo.

Victims of poaching, loss of habitat and population fragmentation, Amur leopards are among the most endangered of the big cat species with only about 100 in far eastern Russia and 100 in zoos around the world, said Josh Sisk, executive director of the Potawatomi Zoo.

Zoo officials made the difficult decision in March to euthanize Pearl, who suffered from age-related health issues. But one of her cubs – Jade – ended up at the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina, where she has continued her mother’s lead by giving birth to two litters, one of whom is Anastasia.
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