National News

Rare Leopard Cubs Make Public Debut At Illinois Zoo

Posted July 17, 2018 3:49 p.m. EDT

— A pair of rare Amur leopard Cubs will debut to the public today at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois.

The spotted, blue-eyed siblings were born in April to parents Lisa, 7, and Kasha, 8.

Lisa and Kasha's courtship was an unconventional one. Lisa was living at the Saint Louis Zoological Park and Kasha was all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, at France's Le Parc Des Felins.Kasha was flown to North America, where he was united with Lisa at Brookfield Zoo.

The pairing was part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Amur Leopard Species Survival Plan. The program works to preserve endangered species by encouraging breeding.

Zoo guests will be able to catch a glimpse of the cubs during the morning hours in their outdoor habitat located on the west side of the Big Cats enclosure. They will be viewable throughout the day when they get better acclimated to their new habitat, zoo officials said.

The Amur leopard is critically endangered with less than 65 animals left in the wild, according to information from the zoo. Together the pair has already had one son, a 2-year-old named Temur. He was since been transferred to another zoo.

The birth of the cubs marks a crucial addition to the species population.