Maya was in constant physical contact with them once they were born, caring for and feeding them. The first 72 hours of the cub’s life are the most critical and monitored closely by the Zoo’s animal and veterinary staff. There is video of them at a very early age after the jump.
Mother and cubs are thriving, and normally the cubs would have made their public debut at around 3 months of age, but it was delayed due minor surgery to correct eyelid abnormalities in October. In this condition, called an upper eyelid coloboma, a portion of the upper eyelid fails to develop properly, leaving a gap at the edge of the eyelid which can lead to eye irritation. The cause of this condition is not well understood, but it occurs in a variety of animals and in humans, and appears to be more common in snow leopards than in other species. The cubs have otherwise developed well, playing, eating, running and jumping normally - see the video of them playing with their mom after the jump.
More photos, videos and conservation information after the jump.
Snow leopards have endangered status in the wild due to habitat destruction, conflict with humans, and poaching. The Philadelphia Zoo supports snow leopards by supporting the Snow Leopard Trust, which uses a combination of approaches to conservation that focus on partnering with communities in snow leopard habitat.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Maya and Amga’s new cubs,” says Tammy Schmidt, Carnivore Curator. “To be able to participate in world conservation and contribute on this level is truly amazing. This birth is a significant contribution to the endangered snow leopard population in the U.S. We are cautiously optimistic and letting Maya be a fantastic first time mom,” said Schmidt. The Zoo works with the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) breeding program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) whose mission is to manage populations of threatened, endangered and other species across AZA zoos, to maintain long-term genetic and demographic viability.
Here is a video when the cubs were new to the world:
And a little later, where the two take time to play with mom.