Visiting the Memphis Zoo

The Memphis Zoo is consistently voted as one of the top zoos in the United States. In 2008 it was ranked #1 in the U.S. by Trip Advisor. The zoo has upgraded habitats over the years, with the recent addition of the Northwest Passage, Zambezi River Hippo Camp, and the Teton Trek, the zoo continues to excite visitors of all ages. Including the most important animal of all, the Snow Leopard!

Adopting a Snow Leopard?

Over the course of 2015-2016 my daughter fell in love with Snow Leopards. If they were on TV, she found them. If they were in a game, she found them. She made sure we went to the Memphis Zoo at least once per month. I don’t know what drew her to this beautiful animal but she was all in. She would literally tell me “Dad! Let’s go to the Zoo so that we can look at the Snow Leopards”. January of 2017 it got the point I tweeted the Memphis Zoo and they told me I can only adopt via their website. This wasn’t what she wanted, not even close. But this is the typical view we get of the Snow Leopard.

Ateri the Snow Leopard
Ateri the Snow Leopard from the Memphis Zoo ready to play!

My daughter decided one day that we were going to bring home her favorite Snow Leopard. We ended up compromising and agreeing to take pictures of these wonderful animals instead. We asked the staff at the Memphis Zoo if there were any ways to get pictures without the bars, and we were told that’s not possible. This was not good enough for either my daughter or I. So we had our goal and set out to achieve it.

Capturing the Snow Leopard

Capturing this beautiful Snow Leopard in an image is not an easy task. The Memphis Zoo has bars between you and the Snow Leopard, for safety reasons I’m sure. But when trying to capture anything with bars in the way you have to move to manual focus and I use a zoom lens (70-200mm), I’m not sure if this is a requirement or not. For me I set the focus to as far away as possible and sometimes I can capture a crisp image of this beautiful creature.

Over the past year, we have continued to visit the Snow Leopard at least once per month. Here are our favorite images from this past year:

Ateri the Snow Leopard
Ateri the Snow Leopard marking her sent on the rocks. Cat Country in the Memphis Zoo
Ateri the Snow Leopard
Ateri the Snow Leopard walking around the Memphis Zoo
Ateri the Snow Leopard 2
Ateri the Snow Leopard from the Memphis Zoo enjoying some downtime. One of our favorite animals at the zoo for sure!
Ateri the Snow Leopard
Ateri the Snow Leopard on the ground but ready to play

We still haven’t been able to arrange a sleep over or formal adoption of Ateri. But my daughter is extremely happy with the images of them we have collected.

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