These baby leopards are the cat’s meow!
The San Diego Zoo announced the recent births of two critically endangered Amur leopards by releasing captivating photos and video of the furry felines.
The tiny, yet-to-be-named critters emerged from their birthing den with mother Satka following several weeks of monitoring with a remote camera system, the zoo said Tuesday.
“We are absolutely thrilled with the progress made by the cubs,” zoo wildlife care manager Gaylene Thomas said. “They have grown so much, and have already started showcasing their unique personalities.”
Thomas added: “The cubs will get their first full veterinary exam soon, and we will know more, including their sex.”
Amur leopards are the world’s rarest cats, with just 84-plus remaining in the wild, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
The spotted predators comprise a subspecies that is native to the forests of far eastern Russia.
Adults weigh 70 to 195 pounds and can run at speeds of up to 37 mph and leap distances of more than 19 feet and heights of up to 10 feet.
Although Amur leopards usually lead solitary lives, some males reportedly stay with females after mating and may even help rear their offspring.
The San Diego cubs are the third litter born to Satka and her mate, Oskar, following two females in April 2018 and two males in April 2020.
“Witnessing the birth of Amur leopards is always an emotional experience,” Thomas said. “There are so few of them left in their native habitat that every birth carries so much weight — and every living individual promises a glimmer of hope.”
More than 220 Amur leopards live in nearly 100 zoos that are members of the Global Species Management Program, with Nadine Lamberski of San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance crediting its efforts for increasing the population by more than 50%.
“This is a monumental achievement, proving that conservation works and our vision to build a world where all life thrives can be realized,” said Lamberski, the alliance’s chief conservation and wildlife health officer.