Two Amur Leopard Cubs Boost This Rare Species


Cubs newborn pic

Two Amur Leopard cubs born at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo on June 19 had their six-week health checks last week. This was the first time that the care team has handled the cubs, who have been bonding with their mom, Tria, behind the scenes.  The cubs’ father is Rafferty.

Female amur leopard cub 7-31-19

Male cub 7-31-19
Male cub 7-31-19

Amur leopard male getting weighed croppedPhoto Credit (all except top photo): Maria Simmons

Amur Leopards are the most endangered of all big Cats, so this birth is a significant boost for the species. Fewer than 90 individuals remain in the wild in their native habitat in the Amur River Basin in Far East Russia.

The zoo’s care team has been observing the cubs via closed-circuit camera with minimal intervention to allow Tria to care for them undisturbed, and she has proven to be a great mom. Veterinary staff were able to administer the cubs’ 6-week vaccinations during the checkup, as well as weigh them and check their development.  The male weighed 6.2 pounds, and the female weighed 5.6 pounds.

The zoo acquired Tria and Rafferty last year from the Greenville, SC. and San Diego zoos respectively as part of the Species Survival Plan for Amur Leopards.

This species faces extinction because of habitat destruction for logging and farming, overhunting of its prey by humans and illegal poaching for their beautiful coats. Those in the wild are now protected in a preserve established by Russia in 2012, but the wild population is so small that inbreeding has become another threat to the species’ survival.



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