Two endangered snow leopard cubs born at the Los Angeles Zoo in May made their public debut Tuesday.
The brother and sister cubs, born in May to 3-year-old mother Georgina and 5-year-old father Fred, are the first offspring for the adult snow leopards that were paired together in 2015 as a part of a species survival plan.
The siblings spent several months behind the scenes, bonding with their mother and getting to know the animal care staff, and at four months old, have gained enough strength and coordination to navigate their outdoor habitat, said animal keeper Stephanie Zielinski.
Snow leopards in the wild are found in the mountains of Central Asia throughout 12 countries and can tolerate extreme temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit down to 40 degrees below zero. It is estimated that there are around 2,000 to 7,000 snow leopards left in the wild.
"We're so excited to welcome these cubs," Zielinski said. "There is less known about these beautiful cats than most of the other large cat species due to the extreme habitat snow leopards have evolved to live in the wild. This is why it's such an honor to be able to educate the public and give them the opportunity to observe this elusive species here in Los Angeles."