VLADIVOSTOK, July 13. /TASS/. Two Amur leopard cubs have been born at the Moscow zoo. This is the first time in 60 years that an Amur leopard breeds in captivity, the zoo’s press service informed on Friday.
"Two Amur leopard cubs have been born at the Moscow zoo. They are the first cubs of this rare wild feline to be born in captivity in the last 60 years. Their father, Nikolay, has been rescued in the Land of the Leopard National Park in the Primorsky Region, after getting caught in a poacher’s trap," the message states.
Russian border guards found Nikolay, known under the number Leo 80M, near the Chinese border in 2015, within the territory of the Land of the Leopard National Park, when he was still a cub. In 2016, he was transferred to the Moscow zoo, where he was put together with the female Amur leopard called Acra.
"Nikolay started a new genetic line of leopards living in captivity. He is the first one to carry the "new blood" from the wild since 1956, when an official ban on capturing these felines was introduced. In the future, Leo 80M’s descendants may return to the forests of the Far East," the message notes.
The Amur leopard is the rarest wild feline in the world. It is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In the early 2000s, there was only 30 Amur leopards living in the wild. In 2012, the Land of the Leopard National Park was created in Russia’s Primorsky Region to preserve the population of Amur leopards. By 2015, 70 leopards had been living in the national park.