The Leopard is the "Zoo Animal of the Year 2016"

This fascinating big cat is endangered almost everywhere in its natural habitat. To help this big cat, the leopard was selected for the “Zoo Animal of the Year” campaign.

The “Zoo Animal of the Year” campaign contributes specifically to the protection of these animals! The active protection and funding of conservation projects on site enables the leopards to survive. In addition, the zoos promote these rare animals and ensure the continued existence of their species through conservation breeding.

The species conservation project "Zoo animal of the year 2016 - the leopard"


underscores the harmony of zoological efforts by ex-situ and in-situ protection around the world. The “Zoo Animal of the Year” is not only intended to indicate an endangered species, but also to implement something specifically for this species. Talking alone is not enough for the project partners! Therefore, the leopard is the first "Zoo animal of the year" to support two specific protection projects:

The "Iran Protection Project" for the Persian Leopard

60% of the total population of the endangered Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) lives in Iran. The main threat is illegal hunting. So far there are no demographic and genetic studies on the Persian leopard in the project area.

Knowledge about the leopards and their way of life is very low. Through the “Zoo Animal of the Year” donations, camera traps are installed. Individual leopards are equipped with GPS collar transmitters to track their movement patterns via satellite telemetry.

Farm animals and domestic dogs are examined to determine possible disease transmission to the leopard. There are training workshops for conservationists, veterinarians, hunters and pet owners.

The "Sri Lanka Protection Project" for the Sri Lanka Leopard

The habitats of the endangered Sri Lankan leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) are dwindling. The forests are increasingly fragmented by roads, villages or large tea plantations. On the fringes of protected areas, conflicts often arise between humans and leopards.

The donations for the “Zoo animal of the year” are to be used to find out where leopards still live in Sri Lanka using DNA analysis. Building on this, suitable protective measures can be developed, e.g. Plant forest corridors. Thanks to the donations, a project vehicle and camera traps have already been purchased. With the help of these camera traps, one would like to learn more about the behavior of animals near people. Together with the population, leopard guards could then be set up, leopard-proof stables built for pets, or other suitable protective measures developed.

More information is available on the Zoo Animal of the Year homepage

Zoo animal of the year 2016 - interview