News Release

Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,

April 30, 2020


Amur Leopard Cub Born at Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield, Ill. – While Brookfield Zoo has been closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an Amur leopard cub was born on March 3. The male cub, named Sasha, is currently behind the scenes bonding with his mom, Lisa. The naming of the cub was one of the auction items offered in the Chicago Zoological Society’s (CZS) Virtu-Whirl fundraiser, which was held last week. Members of the Society’s Women’s Board won the bid to name the nearly 2-month-old cub.

CZS, which manages the zoo, wanted to share some video of the playful cub. A camera that was placed in an animal-proof box, seemed to pique Sasha’s curiosity. Video of the cub can be seen on Brookfield Zoo’s Facebook page and its website at

This is the third litter for 9-year-old Lisa, and the sire, 9-year-old Kasha. Previous births included Temur (pronunced Tee-moor), in 2016 and twin brothers, Jilin (pronounced GEE-lin), and Samson in 2018. The pairing of the two adults was based on a recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Amur Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP). 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.

The Amur leopard is critically endangered with less than 65 animals left in the wild. Threats to the species include poaching; retribution hunting, loss of habitat due to logging and human settlement, and loss of prey. Their entire estimated range is about 965 square miles. Today, they are only found in one isolated population in the Russian Far East, although there may be a few individuals in the Jilin Province of northeast China. 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.

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About the Chicago Zoological Society

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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