Twin snow leopard cubs make debut at zoo

2013-11-06 10:06
One of the baby snow leopards at the Central Park Zoo in New York. (File, AP)

One of the baby snow leopards at the Central Park Zoo in New York. (File, AP)

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New York - New York's Central Park Zoo is showing off two baby snow leopard cubs born there this summer.

Officials say they're the first snow leopards to be born at the zoo.

The twin cubs weigh about 14kg and were born to mother Zoe and father Askai. The cubs will eventually weigh between 29 and 54kg.

The male and female cubs have not yet been named.

A snow leopard was born at the Bronx Zoo earlier this year.

Snow leopards are among the world's most endangered large cats. They live in remote mountains of Central Asia and parts of China, Mongolia, Russia, India and Bhutan.

The snow leopard (Panthero uncia) is listed as endangered by the IUCN which has recorded a 20% population decline in the last 16 years. The global population is estimated at between 4000-6000.

According to National Geographic the dramatic decline is due to poaching which is driven by the illegal trade in pelts and body parts used in chinese medicine.

Other contributing factors include vanishing habitat and the decline of the cats' large mammal prey.

Read more on:    iucn  |  us  |  animals  |  conservation
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