New Amur Leopard Cubs on Exhibit at the Minnesota Zoo
Apple Valley, MINN – September 19, 2012 – The Minnesota Zoo is thrilled to announce that two Amur leopard cubswill go on exhibit for the first time this morning.
Born May 29, the cubs (one male and one female) have spent the last several months nursing, bonding with mom and building up their strength. Because this will be their first time on exhibit, the quality of the viewing opportunities may vary depending on whether they choose to be in the exhibit or in the den.
Amur leopards are a part of a Species Survival Plan® (SSP) through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The purpose of the SSP is to ensure the sustainability of a healthy, genetically diverse, and demographically stable AZA population. As part of a breeding recommendation from the SSP, the cubs’ mother, “Polina,” came to the Zoo in 2007 from the Audubon Nature Institute in Louisiana; the father, “Chobby,” came from Olomouc Zoo in the Czech Republic in 2009.
Said Dr. Tara Harris, Director of Conservation at the Minnesota Zoo:“These births are significant not only because Amur leopards are critically endangered, but also because reintroduction from zoo-bred lineages is under consideration in Russia. The Minnesota Zoo’s cubs are part of the global population that would be used for such a program.”
About Amur Leopards
Encroaching civilization and roads, poaching, and exploitation of forests have brought this animal to the brink of extinction. Fewer than 40 animals are estimated to remain in the wild, resulting in the classification of the Amur leopard as a critically-endangered species. The Minnesota Zoo is one of thirteen coalition members of the Amur Leopard and Tiger Alliance, and raises funds annually to support Amur leopard conservation.
The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).