First Persian Leopard Cubs Born in the Russian Caucasus
The kittens were born in the Persian Leopard Breeding and Rehabilitation Center of the Sochi National Park, located in the Caucasus Mountains in south-western Russia. “They will be released into the wild after acquiring surviving skills and will give start to a new population of the leopard in the Russian Caucasus mountains”, says WWF-Russia species coordinator Natalia Dronova.
“It is too early to tell the sex of the cubs. They’re in the den with their mother, and Center staff do not want to disturb them”, says head of the Breeding Center Umar Semyonov.
An average newborn leopard is 15 cm long and weighs 500-700 grams. On 7-9th day it starts to see. By 12-15th day kittens start to crawl around the den, and after 2 months leave it. During this period their mother regurgitates them half-digested meat, then they start to eat prey that she brings.
Zadig and Andrea were brought to Sochi National Park from Lisbon Zoo in Portugal in October 2012.
In the 20th century, the leopard disappeared from the Russian Caucasus because of humans, mostly due to poaching. The Persian Leopard Reintroduction Program is run by the Ministry of natural resources and environment of the Russian Federation with participation of the Sochi National Park, Caucasus Nature Reserve, A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, WWF and Moscow Zoo.