Have a safe journey, Julius!

Julius, the Chinese Leopard, will soon be leaving Hellabrun Zoo. It's time to say goodbye to the elegant big cat.

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Ellinor Fischer

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Annette Wagner

Copyright: Tierpark Hellabrunn / Dennis Eckert

Hellabrunn Zoo has been home to Julius, the Chinese Leopard, since 2011. The big cat who is very popular with visitors to the zoo will leave Munich in June to move a new home. He will travel to northern Germany to live at Hannover Adventure Zoo. The reason for Julius' departure is that he is now six years old and sexually mature, and will therefore be transferred under the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for this species. His new home is well designed for his needs, with many climbing facilities. The EEP breeding programme will give him the opportunity to start a family with a female leopard.

The European Endangered Species Programme for Chinese leopards has found there are less than 100 individuals residing in zoos. The Chinese Leopard is a subspecies of the leopard. Its population is threatened in the wild due to changes inflicted on their habitat as well as intensive hunting.

The zoo has no plans to stop keeping big cats. Far from it. In future, Hellabrunn will concentrate on keeping and breeding another highly endangered species of leopard: the snow leopard. "We once had a snow leopard at Hellabrunn who set a zoological record when she gave birth to quintuplets and also raised them successfully," says curator Beatrix Köhler. The zoo is now considering taking in a new snow leopard couple at some time in the future.