Malaya and Makalu will be on exhibit starting Friday


AKRON -- Two snow leopard cubs born in April at the Akron Zoo have been named.

Malaya and Makalu will be on exhibit starting Friday -- the Fourth of July -- from 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. daily.

A contest to name the cubs had nearly 1,500 entries. Representatives from the zoo and the Akron Beacon Journal narrowed down the names, and zookeepers made the final selection.

The people who submitted the winning names will receive a gift bag and zoo tickets.

Malaya, a female, is named as a reference to their native habitat in the Himalayan Mountains.

Makalu, a male, is named after a mountain in the Himalayas that is on the boundary of Nepal and Tibet.

Sarah Kirkman, their primary keeper, says the cubs are developing distinct personalities.

"Malaya is more outgoing and independent," she said. "She was the first born, the first to open her eyes, the first to climb out of the nest box and the first to eat meat. She is definitely a go-getter and pretty adventurous. Makalu has a calmer disposition but is very curious. He spends a lot of time interacting with enrichment and new scents."

The cubs will only be out for any hour each day initially but will be out for longer time spans as they get bigger.

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