A one-year-old snow leopard has taken some tentative first steps into the limelight at the Calgary Zoo.

Leika has been moved in to the zoo's Eurasian Gateway exhibit, joining a 17-year-old male snow leopard named Karesh.

"We are thrilled to have Leika join our zoo family," said Calgary Zoo curator Matt Korhonen in a release.

"The species is one of the most majestically beautiful and enigmatic big cats on earth, so we want to preserve them for generations to come and do what we can to educate our visitors on the important conservation work zoos do."

Leika was acquired from Zoo Kameltheatre in Austria.

"Snow leopards are part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) which helps to ensure a wide range of genetic diversity and may safeguard the species from becoming extinct," the zoo said in a release.

Snow leopards are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, with only 4,000 to 6,500 remaining in the wild. They live mainly in the mountains of Central Asia. 

snow leopard

Snow leopards are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, with only 4,000 to 6,500 remaining in the wild. (Calgary Zoo )