When Leo was less than seven weeks old, he became orphaned in the snowy Himalayan mountains in Pakistan. Snow leopards need their mothers during the first two years of their lives, but Leo was all alone. Luckily, the cub was rescued by a kind shepherd and his family, who hand-fed Leo and kept him safe. But Leo quickly grew too large and was given to Pakistani authorities, who also found themselves without the resources to help him. When the Wildlife Conservation Society learned of Leo's plight, they knew they had to do something. There was a special place that could save Leo:
the world famous Bronx Zoo in New York, the leading experts on caring for and breeding the critically endangered snow leopard. After a rescue that involved a treacherous, winding trek in the Himalayas, an extraordinary partnership between Pakistan and the United States, and the help of dozens of dedicated people, Leo is making the Bronx Zoo his new home, where he is thriving and learning how to be a snow leopard again.
Readers will delight to make a place in their hearts for Leo, one little snow leopard who inspired an international community to help save him. With breaktaking photographs, Leo the Snow Leopard is an extraordinary story about bravery, kindness, and the wonderful things that can happen when people come together to solve a problem.
The Hatkoffs--who have collaborated on such inspirational real-life animal tales as Owen & Mzee and Winter's Tail--tell the story of an orphaned snow leopard cub discovered in Pakistan's mountains. Leo is relocated to a national park before making his way to the Bronx Zoo in New York City. Despite the authors' attempts to inject tension into the story (there's an ill-timed landslide and, later, zookeepers worry about Leo's adjusting to another leopard), it doesn't have quite the emotional wallop of its predecessors. Ages 4 10. (Oct.)