Meet Beardsley Zoo‘s rare, 8-week-old leopard cubs!
Amur leopards are some of the rarest cats on the planet; there are only about 80 left in the world.
News 8 got the rare opportunity to meet these brother and sister cubs, who were born on Jan. 25. The zoo said the pair are developing well.
Gregg Dancho, Director of the Beardsley Zoo, said having two cubs is a huge advantage. “They’re able to learn from each other,” said Dancho. “They’ll chase each other, they’ll fight each other, there’s dominance… they’re learning from each other.”
The cubs are so young, they don’t even have names yet! Dancho said zoo staff is in the process of picking names that zoo patrons will be able to vote on.
Want to see them for yourself? The zoo plans to set up a webcam so you can watch the cubs in their habitat. Though there is not launch date set yet, Dancho said it will be up and running very soon.
The cubs will also be available for the public to see on a daily basis once they join the zoo’s Amur Leopard enclosure, possibly as soon as May or June. But, the main focus now is their health. “We want to make sure they’re healthy, that everything’s doing well, and that they’re able to take care of themselves outside,” Dancho said.
The cubs are being reared by zoo staff since being taken away from their mother, six-year-old Freya, who was displaying hyper-grooming behaviors. Freya injured the female cub and a third cub that did not survive. The female cub lost her tail due from those injuries.
Dancho said having these critically endangered species born and subsequently thrive at their facilities isn’t just important for the zoo — it’s important for the future of the species.
“We feel that our zoo is a lifeboat to some of these animals,” Dancho said. “Keeping them going, keeping them in our world and hopefully in the future we can get them back to where they were originally from.”