With fewer than 100 individuals remaining in the wild, Amur Leopards are the world’s rarest big Cats. That’s why the birth of two cubs at Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn is cause for celebration.
Born on March 27 to first-time parents Ida and Piotr, the cubs are the first ever to be born at Zoo Vienna. For the past month, the cubs have been in the maternity den with Ida. But last week, they began making their first visits to the zoo’s indoor Leopard habitat, where they can be seen by zoo guests – but only for a few minutes before they scurry back to the den or are carried off by their mother.
At birth, the little cubs were blind and helpless. After about two weeks, they opened their eyes. Their genders are not yet known, so the cubs have not yet been named.
The staff reports that first-time mother Ida is doing a good job of nurturing her cubs.
Amur Leopards are Critically Endangered and live in remote forests of the Russian Far East, with a few individuals roaming over the Chinese border. They possess thick fur as an adaptation for the bitterly cold winters in the area. Poaching for body parts is the main threat to their survival, as is the poaching of the Leopards’ prey. Forest fires, the building of roads and settlements, and disease are additional threats to the Cats’ survival.
Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn participates in the European conservation breeding program to create a sustainable, genetically diverse population of these magnificent Cats.
See more adorable photos below!