Whenever new baby animals are born in a zoo, it’s always a happy occasion. However, the birth of endangered animals is an even more special occasion because every single birth is a big step towards repopulating a species that face the risk of disappearing from the earth. Recently, a zoo welcomed a couple of Amur leopards, which is a critically endangered species, into this world.
These adorable Amur leopard cubs were born in the Niabi Zoo, Coal Valley, Illinois on the 7th of March. One of the cubs is a male and the other is a female. When we think about how rare these animals are, this birth is truly a miracle. As claimed by the zoo officials, Amur leopards are the most critically endangered big cats on earth. They’re less than 100 Amur leopards in the wild. Birth rates of these creatures are quite rare even in captivity, with only 7 births recorded in 2022.
The Niabi Zoo partnered with the Amur Leopard Species Survival planning group in 2019. It’s a joint effort by 50 North American zoos to repopulate Amur leopards. After many delays, the Niabi Zoo received a female Amur leopard named Iona to mate with Jilin, their genetically viable male leopard. For now, Jilin is a “proud first-time dad”. However, Iona attends to the cubs the most.
Unfortunately, there’s a piece of sad news too. The third cub of Jilin and Iona died after a few days. The remaining two are growing up well under the love and care of their mother.
The arrival of these two cubs makes us hopeful that this critically endangered species can be saved. So, let us know your thoughts about this in the comments.
Image credits: Niabi Zoo / Facebook