Two baby Amur leopard cubs were born on October 12 at Wildlife Heritage Foundation (WHF), a conservation charity based in
Smarden, Kent, which supports rare and endangered big cats. It is estimated that less than forty of these magnificent creatures survive in the wild. The two are named after tributaries of the Amur River, "Argun" and "Anuy". Playful and curious like all kittens, the pair still rely on Mom for a good bath.
More pics and info below the fold. Thanks to Alan Kellogg for bringing these little guys to our attention.
Mother "Xizi" born 8th June 2005 at Helsinki Zoo came to WHF March 2007
Father "Artur" born 14th September 2002 at Novosibirsk Zoo in Central Russia arrived WHF March 2004
They were moved into our new purpose build leopard breeding centre
March 2008 where they were kept separate whilst they got to know each
other, finally introduced into same enclosure early July they
successfully mated and Xizi produced cubs on Sunday 12th October at
around 3pm in the afternoon.
Xizi had three live cubs the smallest died within a few days, she
may have had a fourth cub that was still born as is common with cats
she would have eaten this cub as a natural method of avoiding the
attention of other predators - where the Amur leopard lives in the wild
there is a population of tigers, the Amur tiger who would certainly
kill any leopard adult or cub that they found.
Two surviving cubs is a normal number for this species in
captivity, in the wild where the conditions are harsh and food
difficult to find a single surviving cub would perhaps be the norm.
We know one of the cubs is a boy he is called "Argun" the other
may be a girl it is called "Anuy" both names are tributaries of the
Amur River (sometimes called the Black River or Dragon River in
China) that flows from China through Russia into the Gulf of Amur and
the China Sea. The Amur River of course gives its name to both the Amur
leopard and the Amur tiger that is found in that area.
These cubs will stay at WHF for 18 to 24 months before moving on
to further the captive population of these very rare and endangered cats.