A new addition to a Northern zoo is feeling the ground beneath his paws and getting used to a life without his mum and siblings around.
Sikari, a 19-month-old snow leopard brought across from Melbourne Zoo, has joined the other big cats as an attraction at Tasmania Zoo.
Large carnivore keeper Justin Penn said snow leopards were known to be solitary animals and it would take time for the new addition to open up.
"There's a reason why they are called the ghost cat, they are known to be extremely shy and elusive animals and it's actually quite hard to study them because of how elusive they can be. It's hard to spot them in the wild," he said.
"He is a beautiful looking cat so once he does start to get a little bit more confidence, he is going to be a great attraction."
Mr Penn expected that it would take the snow leopard a few weeks to get used to his new enclosure and seeing strangers.
"He is such a majestic-looking beautiful cat. I reckon everyone is going to love him to be honest. My main goal at the moment has been trying to get him to respond to me," he said.
Mr Penn hoped he would bond with Sikari over the next month, but said he knew he would have to be patient.
Sikari will reach maturity age about two or three years old, which is when the zoo will start looking for a female mate for the snow leopard.
Mr Penn said Melbourne Zoo and Tasmania Zoo were two of only four Australasian zoos to be a part of a special breeding program for snow leopards - which was how the zoo came to have Sikari.
"The snow leopard population is still in decline," he said.
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