A snow leopard opened wide as a veterinary technician reached inside her mouth to clean her long, sharp teeth.
Kiara, a 13-year-old snow leopard, received a complete physical exam at Oklahoma City Zoo as visitors watched.
Registered veterinary technician Julia Jones polished Kiara’s teeth, her face inches away from the snow leopard’s jaws.
Kiara also got her nails clipped as part of the exam. Veterinarian Jennifer D’Agostino prepared her for X-rays, taking a look at the pictures on a screen afterwards.
Kiara, a 13-year-old snow leopard, got her teeth cleaned as part of a complete physical exam at Oklahoma City Zoo. Snow leopards use their teeth, which are four inches long on average, to hunt prey such as blue sheep, wild goats and domestic animals such as horses
Julia Jones, a registered veterinary technician, brought her face inches away from Kiara’s jaw as she cleaned her sharp teeth. Kiara gave birth to two male snow leopard cubs in May 2010
The zoo had advertised Kiara’s checkup ahead of time, telling spectators to arrive at 9:30 this morning for the 10am exam.
It took place in the zoo’s Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital, which opened to the public in September 2015 to show visitors more of what happens behind the scenes.
The hospital’s main building includes a visitor gallery where spectators can peek inside all of the main rooms used by vets while they care for animals.
They can also use interactive kiosks that tell visitors to learn more about the work performed by the vets.
Visitors don’t have access to the wing where animals are put in isolation and they can’t see inside the necropsy room, where animals are examined after they die.
Kiara was prepped for X-rays as part of the exam while visitors watched through a window. Her checkup took place in the zoo’s Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital, which opened to the public in September last year to show what happens behind the scenes
The physical exam also included clipping Kiara’s nails in front of the spectators. Visitors can see inside all of the main rooms used by the vets and learn more about their work thanks to interactive kiosks but they can’t access the isolation ward or the necropsy room, where animals are examined after they die
Kiara gave birth to the zoo’s 50th and 51st snow leopards in May 2010. The two male cubs were her second set of offspring.
She was caring and attentive even though she didn’t have a mother to model her behavior after, having been bottle-fed by keepers at Tulsa Zoo when she was a cub.
There are now between 4,000 and 6,000 snow leopards in the wild according to WWF, making them an endangered species.
They can be found in 12 countries, including Afghanistan, China, India, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan and Russia.
Their teeth are more than four inches long according to Central Park Zoo, which has two adult snow leopards and two cubs.
They use them to eat blue sheep and wild goats, their preferred preys, and domestic animals such as horses.
Snow leopards typically live between 15 and 18 years in the wild, but their life expectancy can increase in captivity and some can live for up to 20 years.
Kiara was placed on a table for an X-ray during her complete checkup. The zoo had previously advertised her medical exam, telling visitors to arrive ahead of time at 9:30am
Veterinarian Jennifer D’Agostino prepared Kiara for her X-rays. There are between 4,000 and 6,000 snow leopards in the wild, making them an endangered species. They live between 15 and 18 years in nature and up to 20 years in captivity
D’Agostino looked at one of Kiara’s X-rays on a screen. Kiara was bottle-fed by keepers at Tulsa Zoo when she was a cub, meaning she didn’t have a mother to use as a model with her own offspring. Despite that, she became a caring mother