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Dec. 1, 2022
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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Memphis Zoo Welcomes New Leopard As Part Of International Breeding Program

Memphis Zoo Welcomes New Leopard As Part Of International Breeding Program

We’re proud to mark this Endangered Species Day with a very special announcement. Memphis Zoo is now home to female Amur leopard, Kira. Kira was born at Twycross Zoo in England in 2016. 

Memphis Zoo is extremely proud to partner with Twycross Zoo as part of an international breeding program to help protect and preserve the species. 

“Kira’s arrival is a double win for the Memphis community. Not only are Amur leopards a gorgeous and dynamic species to see at the zoo, but this is also a real-life conservation story.  With this species on the brink of extinction in the wild, zoos across the globe are collaboratively managing a breeding program that will ensure this species endures with the potential to reintroduce back to the wild,” said Memphis Zoo Curator Dan Dembiec. 

 “This transfer of animals between the United States and the UK reinforces the commitment that both countries have in breeding this critically endangered cat.  By working together on a global scale, and sharing each other’s leopard population genetics, the species has a much better chance of survival.  Continued and appropriate breeding of this critically endangered species will ultimately contribute to the Global Species Management Program for Amur Leopards developing initiatives to hopefully one day reintroduce this leopard into protected areas in Russia and China,” said Michael Frushour, Amur Leopard Species Survival Plan Program Leader for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. 

 “Our community is proud to support the zoo in all their endeavors and this achievement should be celebrated. Culture, conservation, and education are important qualities in the City of Memphis, and we are excited to share this remarkable pairing with the community,” said Mayor Jim Strickland. 


The Amur leopard is currently listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is one of the most endangered big cats in the world, with less than 100 left in the wild. Today, the last remaining wild populations of Amur leopards reside in China and Russia. The species faces significant threats in the wild including habitat loss, prey scarcity, poaching and illegal trade.