How these little rescued leopards were released from poachers 1:11 (CNN) — The St. Louis Zoo in Missouri has welcomed two adorable — and incredibly rare — babies: Amur leopard cubs Anya and Irina. , which is in danger of extinction. Amur leopards are believed to be the rarest cats in the world, with only about 120 remaining in the wild in Russia and China, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The zoo, located in the US city of Saint Louis, announced the exciting birth on May 19 via Twitter. The female cubs were born on April 21 to lucky parents Dot and Samson, the zoo said. The Dot family of leopards arrived at the zoo in 2020. She and the cubs will remain in a private maternity den for the next few months. “Dot is an excellent mother. It is exciting to see this first-time mother providing great care for her pups,” curator of carnivores Steve Bircher said in a press release. “There are very few of these rare big cats left in the world, and each birth is extremely important to the survival of the species.” Samson, age 4, arrived at the zoo in 2021. Visitors can still see Samson in the zoo’s “Big Cat Country” exhibit. The pair was linked by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which strategically pairs Amur leopards to create a genetically healthy population in North American zoos. The puppies had their first veterinary check-up on May 5. Each of them weighed a healthy 1.5kg, according to the zoo. When they are fully grown, Anya and Irina will weigh between 60 and 125 pounds (27 and 56 kilos). Amur leopards have been pushed to the brink of extinction, according to the WWF. Although conservation work has helped increase their numbers, their population has declined dramatically due to habitat loss and hunting.
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