Blog: Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare

Amur Leopard Cubs Make Public Debut at Brookfield Zoo

Two 3-month old male Amur leopard cubs made their public debut at Brookfield Zoo recently. The cubs, named Samson and Jilin (pronounced GEE-lin), were born on April 18. Up until now, the two had been behind the scenes bonding with their 7-year-old mom, Lisa. Currently, guests can see them during morning hours in their outdoor habitat located on the west side of Big Cats. As they get more acclimated to their new environment, they will be viewable throughout the day.

Amur Leopard Cubs at Brookfield Zoo

Lisa and the sire, 8-year-old Kasha, were introduced back in 2015, and are also the parents of another male offspring named Temur who was recently transferred to another accredited zoo. Both parents were brought to Brookfield Zoo in 2013—Lisa from Saint Louis Zoological Park, and Kasha from Le Parc des Felins in France—as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Amur Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP).

Amur Leopard Cubs at Brookfield Zoo

An SSP is a cooperative population management and conservation program for select species in accredited North American zoos and aquariums. Each plan manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. This SSP is especially important, because they are critically endangered with less than 65 animals left in the wild. The biggest threats to these solitary animals are poaching; retribution hunting; a decrease in their habitat from fires, logging, and human settlement; and a decline in their prey.

Amur leopards’ native range previously encompassed the Amur River basin and the mountains of northeastern China and the Korean peninsula. Today, they are found only in one isolated population in the Russian Far East, although there may be a few individuals in the Jilin Province of northeast China (one of the cubs is named after this region). They are the northernmost subspecies of leopard in the world and are often mistaken for snow leopards. Amur leopards live in temperate forests with cold winters and hot summers, and typically rest in trees and dense vegetation or among the rocks during the day.

Amur Leopard Cubs at Brookfield Zoo

Posted: 7/20/2018 2:59:41 PM by Steven Pine

Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare

Read the latest exciting stories about how our experts are advancing the science of “animal-directed” care through innovative programs at Brookfield Zoo and global field efforts.


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