The Amur leopard is considered the world’s rarest big cat, with about 120 left in the wild in Russia and China, According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Zoo in St. Louis, The exciting birth was announced via Twitter on May 19
, The female cub was born on April 21 to lucky parents Dot and Samson, the zoo said. Dot reached the zoo in 2020. She and her cubs will stay in a private maternity den for the next few months.
Carnivore curator Steve Bircher said, “Dot is an excellent mom. It’s exciting to see a mother for the first time taking so much care of her cubs.” in a news release.
“There are very few of these rare big cats left in the world and each birth is extremely important for the survival of the species.”
4 year old Samson
Came to the zoo in 2021. Visitors can still catch a glimpse of Samson at the zoo’s “Big Cat Country” exhibit. The pair were joined by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to strategically match Amur leopards to cultivate genetically healthy populations in North American zoos.
The first veterinary examination of the cubs was done on May 5. each weighed a healthy 2.5 pounds, said the zoo
, By the time they are fully grown, Anya and Irina will weigh anywhere between 60 and 125 pounds.
WWF says Amur leopards are on the verge of extinction, although conservation work has helped increase their numbers. Their population has declined dramatically due to habitat loss and hunting.