Litter of Critically Endangered Amur Leopard Babies Born at St. Louis Zoo

Amur leopards are considered the rarest big cats in the world, with around 120 in the wild in Russia and China, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The zoo, located in Saint-Louis, announced the exciting birth on May 19 via Twitter. The female cubs were born April 21 to lucky parents Dot and Samson, the zoo said. Dot arrived at the zoo in 2020. She and the cubs will be staying in a private maternity ward for the next few months.
“Dot is an excellent mother. It’s exciting to see this first-time mother provide great care for her young,” Carnivore curator Steve Bircher said in a press release.

“There are so few of these rare big cats left in the world and each birth is extremely important to the survival of the species.”

The Samson 4 years old 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 bound by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which strategically partners Amur leopards to cultivate a genetically healthy population in North American zoos.
The cubs had their first veterinary exam on May 5. Each weighed 2.5 pounds healthy, says the zoo. When they are adults, Anya and Irina will weigh between 60 and 125 pounds.

Amur leopards have been pushed to the brink of extinction, according to WWF, although conservation work has helped boost their numbers. Their population has declined significantly due to habitat loss and hunting.


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