A zoo in Colorado welcomed two Amur leopard cubs, a species that’s critically endangered, officials said.
Anya, a 9-year-old Amur leopard, became a first-time mama on Wednesday, May 17, three days after Mother’s Day, according to a May 19 Facebook post by the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
The two cubs make up 4% of the endangered species’ population, the Colorado Springs zoo said.
There are around 100 Amur leopards — described as “the rarest big cats on the planet” — left in the wild in Russia and China, zoo officials said.
“I think Anya is absolutely incredible. She looks confident and comfortable with the cubs, and we’re elated for her and her babies,” the post read. “I’m so proud of our animal care team and their commitment to Anya and the future of the Amur leopard species.”
Animal care manager Rebecca Zwicker said the first few weeks after a leopard cub’s birth are “extremely fragile” but that there’s no reason for concern as their mother is “patient and attentive.”
The first baby “quickly showed instincts to nurse,” which helped Anya get into mommy-mode when the second cub arrived, the zoo said.
“Once cub #2 smelled where cub #1 was having its meal, it made a baby beeline for the nipple. After a short sibling squabble, a full-bellied cub #1 moved aside for cub #2 to settle in for its first meal,” the post said. “Since then, both cubs have been nursing regularly and cub #2 is quickly catching up to its sibling’s energy level.”
Anya is the only one to have seen her cubs in person as the zoo is watching remotely from cameras placed in her den, officials said.
Officials haven’t identified the cubs’ sex and won’t be able to for some time, the post said.
As for naming, the zoo plans to keep its tradition by waiting 30 days before giving the cuties a name.
Colorado Springs is about 70 miles south of Denver.