Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo welcomes new endangered leopard

Ussuri, an Amur leopard, replaces Rowdy at the zoo

Amur leopard Ussuri is new at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo for the 2016 season.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo has welcomed a new leopard.

Ussuri, an Amur leopard, will be on exhibit when the zoo opens April 23. He replaces Rowdy, who was moved to another zoo as a result of a breeding recommendation, zoo officials said Monday.

Amur leopards are critically endangered, with less than 50 left in the wild. Through the support of the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance, zoo officials said “exhibiting a beautiful animal like Ussuri helps to communicate the importance and urgency of wildlife conservation.”

Ussuri is 15 years old – an “advanced age” for leopards. Zoo keepers have added lower branches and rocks to the leopard exhibit to make climbing easier the older big cat.

“We are proud to provide him with a place of sanctuary during his later years,” zoo officials said of Ussuri.

The children’s zoo is mourning the loss of famed Bill the lion, who died of aggressive cancer April 6.

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