Meet Zoya: Living Desert Touts Arrival of Amur Leopard, an Endangered Species

Living Desert photo of Zoya, a 10-year-old female Amur leopard, December 2013.
Living Desert photo of Zoya, a 10-year-old female Amur leopard, December 2013.


PALM DESERT – Officials at The Living Desert announced the arrival of Zoya, a 10-year-old female Amur leopard and member of an endangered species, on Wednesday in Palm Desert.

The leopard was transferred Nov. 19 from the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in Indiana to The Living Desert and is now part of the Coachella Valley attraction’s 400+ wildlife population.

“We’re thrilled to have a magnificent new leopard here at the park, and look forward to our guests getting to know Zoya,” Stacey Johnson, Living Desert president and CEO, said. “Amur leopards are the most endangered leopards, and we’re proud to support the Species Survival Plan.”

Zoya weighed about 92 pounds when she arrived in the Coachella Valley, Living Desert officials said.

She “is currently in special care and quarantine to monitor her health, well-being and behavior in the new surroundings. Once she is acclimated to her new home and passes all her health exams, she will reside in the area outside the District Commissioner’s House.”

Here’s more from The Living Desert:

Amur leopards are graceful and powerful big cats closely related to lions, tigers, and jaguars.They differ from other leopard subspecies by a thick coat of spot-covered fur. Most are light colored with distinctive dark spots that are called rosettes, because they resemble the shape of a rose.There are only about 40 Amur leopards left in the wild, and about 300 in managed zoo breeding programs. Zoya was born at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans in 2003.

The Living Desert is billed as an AZA-accredited zoo and gardens that is dedicated to conservation and education. For more information call (760) 346-5694 or visit The Living Desert is at 47900 Portola Ave., Palm Desert.