Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut

Although it looks like this mama Amur Leopard is taking a catnap, rest assured she was very aware of her surroundings and all that was going on around her.

She recently gave birth to one male and one female cub. The cubs are part of the Species Survival Plan, a mission of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, to produce healthy, genetically diverse animals to aid in conservation.

Their mother, Polina, was enjoying a well deserved nap on this morning while her cubs were nearby napping in their den.

Silent, sleek, and strong, Amur leopards are deadly hunters of deep forests. They roam large areas in search of prey. Their long, thick coat and long legs help them survive the cold and deep snow of eastern Asia.

Not long ago, Amur leopards lived over a wide area of northern China, the Koreas, and a small part of Russia’s Far East. Expanding human populations have reduced the wilderness and isolated the leopard.

With deer populations declining and habitat being disrupted, these magnificent animals teeter on the brink of extinction. Only 30 individuals live in the wild. But hope remains: recent public campaigns have saved their last refuge, and some old habitat may be restored.