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Colorado zoo welcomes endangered Amur leopard cubs

Amur leopards are among the rarest big cats on Earth as only 100 remain in the wild.
Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Two of the rarest big cats on the planet are now proud parents after welcoming two babies at a Colorado zoo.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo said 9-year-old Amur leopard mother Anya gave birth to two cubs Wednesday.

The cubs are covered in black spots and appear to be about two pounds, the average size for a leopard cub, the zoo said. The first weeks and months of a leopard cub’s life are extremely fragile and the babies will remain behind the scenes for at least eight weeks.

The cub's father, 7-year-old Anadyr, will not have an active parenting role for the cubs, as is normal for male Amur leopards.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo said only around 100 Amur leopards remain in the wild of far east Russia and China.

Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

“Imagine nursing your first baby while having contractions for your second,” said Cheyenne Mountain Zoo animal care manager Rebecca Zwicker. “I think Anya is absolutely incredible. She looks confident and comfortable with the cubs, and we’re elated for her and her babies. I’m so proud of our animal care team and their commitment to Anya and the future of the Amur leopard species.”

“It always amazes me when a first-time mom embraces the role as naturally as Anya has,” said Zwicker. “She’s a patient and attentive mom. She knows where those babies are at all times. There’s a lot of cuddling, grooming, nursing and cleaning going on, and we’re seeing Anya take time to groom and care for herself, which is equally important.”

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