ST. LOUIS – Anya and Irina, two Amur leopard cubs at the St. Louis Zoo, are settling in just fine with their new surroundings.
Earlier this week, the St. Louis Zoo introduced Anya, Irina and their mother Dot to their new outdoor habitat in Big Cat County. Zookeepers say the cubs are very energetic and eager to explore, though they have also followed the lead of their mother.
“Dot is an excellent mother. It’s exciting to see this first-time mom providing great care to her cubs,” said Steve Bircher, Kevin Beckmann Curator of Carnivores, Saint Louis Zoo. “Everything is new for Anya and Irina as they explore their outdoor habitat. They’re curious, but cautious, about everything from the grass and trees, sunshine, wind and all the sights and sounds of the Zoo. It could take some time before the cubs gain their confidence and Dot feels comfortable letting her cubs explore.”
Leopard cubs are a critically endangered species. Anya and Irina, who were born at the St. Louis Zoo on April 21, represent a significant contribution to the population of Amur leopards in North American zoos. The two females are the first leopard cubs born at the Zoo since 2010. Their names mean “grace” and “peace” in foreign languages.
Anya and Irina now weigh around 15 pounds each. They are eating more meat and nursing a little less, while they have also received their baby vaccinations.
The St. Louis Zoo shared several photos of Anya and Irina with FOX 2. The zoo’s team also created a video documenting their first days outdoors.