A pair of rare snowy white cubs are getting acquainted to zoo life, a video from a New York zoo shows.
Two snow leopard cubs were born over the summer and made their exhibit debut, according to a Nov. 3 Bronx Zoo Facebook video. The duo — one female and one male — explored their new habitat, the video shows, playfully batting at and chasing each other around their home.
The cubs were born to two snow leopards at the Bronx Zoo, Dariga and Naltar. Naltar came to the Bronx Zoo as a cub himself when he was found orphaned in Pakistan, the zoo said.
The snow leopard siblings have already begun to show their contrasting personalities. The female cub has been “a little more independent” so far, the zoo said, while the male cub is “more cautious and stays closer to its mother.”
Differing personalities haven’t stopped the two from having fun. The zoo said they’ve started to play with their enrichment toys, as well as spying on other snow leopards in separate exhibits.
The Bronx Zoo is part of a Species Survival Plan program for snow leopards, according to the post. The program centers on breeding the species to improve “genetic viability” in zoos around the country, the zoo said.
Snow leopard births have been a point of pride for the Bronx Zoo, which has reported 80 — more than any other zoo in North America, the Facebook post said. It was also the first zoo to exhibit the rare big cat in 1903, the Bronx Zoo said.
Also called the “ghosts of the mountain,” the snow leopard is one of the most elusive big cats in the world, the zoo said. The species, which is endangered, lives in the mountainous regions of Central Asia, according to the Snow Leopard Trust.
Their grayish white fur, dappled with dark spots, helps the animal blend in to its snowy environment, the World Wildlife Fund said on its website. It’s also an apex predator in the mountains, hunting everything from ibex to hares, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Snow leopards typically prefer to be on the hunt solo, the Snow Leopard Trust said, and snow leopard mothers raise their cubs alone.
The endangered big cat faces a declining population. Some scientists estimate there may be anywhere between almost 4,000 to nearly 6,400 snow leopards living in the wild, according to the Snow Leopard Trust.
There are 10 snow leopards at the Bronx Zoo, including the two new babies, the zoo said.