by Jacki Mick
Image via Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens
After the their last remaining leopard passed away last month, Sanford's Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens added two new (to them!) leopards to their menagerie. The two leopards, born in 1996, have spent practically their entire lives together at the Naples Zoo, so it's good to see them stick together in the move to their new home. They have been separated from their babies, who were born in 1999. That's what happens though, people (and leopards) grow up and live away from their parents.
The non-profit zoo's new female is a melanistic leopard, sometimes incorrectly referred to as a black panther. Her black coat is due to a recessive gene that causes the production of more black pigment than orange-tan. The spots are still visible, though; you just have to look super-close. So, maybe just trust us on this one. You can spot the spots on the male more easily, as he is a spotted leopard.
While you're welcoming them to their new abode, you should definitely stop by and day "hi" to Jahi, part of the zoo's Indian Rhinoceros exhibit.