Amur Leopard cubs roar into Twycross Zoo

leopard cub-TwycrossTwycross Zoo are excited with the birth of not one but two Amur Leopard cubs. Mum, Kristen and dad, Davidoff are very proud parents.

Head of Life Sciences for Twycross, Charlotte McDonald shared keepers excitement, ‘We are delighted with the birth of two rare Amur leopard cubs at Twycross Zoo.’

Amur leopards are the world’s most endangered big cat. At home in Russia there are only 50 leopards left. Human conflict, poaching, logging, land development and inbreeding issues arising from the small population have all led to them becoming critically endangered.

Luckily these cubs are another step forward for the European Endangered Species Program. This breeding program brings together the most genetically diverse leopards to breed to help create a larger population in zoos.

McDonald shared keepers excitement about how these animals may one day return to the wild. ‘

Veterinary advisor of the EEP, Dr John Lewis explained the species perilous state of affairs. ‘We don’t know how many of the Amur leopards remaining in the wild are young or old, male or female.  So if the population is skewed towards too many males, or too many older individuals, this can impact the species’ chances of breeding successfully.  The added threats of disease and human-animal conflict also jeopardise the animals’ survival.  Zoo breeding programmes are fundamental to protecting and saving species that are close to extinction in the wild.’

McDonald shared keepers excitement about how these animals may one day return to the wild. ‘We are hopeful that these UK-born babies will one day be part of wider conservation plans for the reintroduction of the species to the wild.  Although animals are best conserved in the wild, and it’s unlikely that any reintroduction will take place for several more years, captive-bred cubs such as these could help save the Amur leopard from disappearing forever.’

Currently zoos are working out the feasibility of returning Amur leopards to Russia. Twycross Zoo is funding research by Wildlife Vets International to discover if this process could work.

Photo Credit: Twycross Zoo


By Cale Russell is a testament to Cale’s commitment to the education of people around the world on the topic of animals and conservation, through the sharing of topical and newsworthy information.

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