Jan. 1, 2009— -- Wednesday's year-end snow sent most people running indoors to the warmth of their homes and New Year's festivities. But at New York's Bronx Zoo, three Siberian tigers and a snow leopard felt most at home outside, playing in the newly fallen snow.
Shelby, a 3-year-old female snow leopard from the Bronx Zoo's Himalayan Highlands exhibit, plays peek-a-boo in a new blanket of white that fell in New York City.
The Wildlife Conservation Society, the zoo's parent organization, recently announced plans to open another snow leopard exhibit next spring at the Central Park Zoo in New York City.
Shelby appears nearly camouflaged among the snow-covered trees at the Bronx Zoo.
The Wildlife Conservation Society says it has raised more snow leopards in captivity than any other zoological institution and also works to protect its natural habitat. Snow leopards are found in the mountains of central Asia.
Sasha, a Siberian tiger, lies in the snow Wednesday at the Bronx Zoo's Tiger Mountain exhibit. Siberian tigers are the world's biggest cats, weighing as much as 700 pounds.
Norma, another Siberian tiger, walks in the snow Wednesday at the Bronx Zoo's Tiger Mountain exhibit.
The Wildlife Conservation Society, the zoo's parent organization, works throughout the Russian Far East to protect this critically endangered big cat, of which perhaps 450 remain.
Siberian tiger Alexis lives at the snow-covered Bronx Zoo in New York.
Though Siberian tigers are critically endangered, there is hope, as numbers have increased from a low of 250 in the 1980s. Today, numbers remain stable, though most Siberian tigers continue to die from poaching.