After pause, new paws arrive to applause

In a furry finale to one of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s centennial gifts, Orya the snow leopard made her public debut on Valentine’s Day at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

Orya comes to Milwaukee from Zoo Zurich in Switzerland. She is the second of two snow leopards acquired by the Zoo through the Foundation’s Gifts to the Community, a program that offers access to special opportunities and experiences throughout the region.

Asa, a male from Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, N.Y., debuted in Milwaukee in December 2015 and has quickly become a fan favorite.

Orya is slowly acclimating to her new environment at the zoo’s Florence Mila Borchert Big Cat Country exhibit. From a distance, zookeepers have observed her playing with enrichment items – like tubs of water and paper bags – and recently, she has started to interact with her keepers. Eventually, the zoo hopes to breed Orya and Asa to support the long-term survival of the endangered species.