Bronx Zoo displays a pair of snow leopard cubs

On May 6, twin male cubs were born to a pair of first-time parents of snow leopards at the Bronx Zoo. The pair of these cuddly snow leopard cubs is on display along with their mom at the outdoor Himalayan Highlands exhibit of the zoo. The exhibition received the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Exhibit Award for outstanding design in 1987.

This exhibition is run by the Wildlife Conservation Society, which is working in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and western China to combat deforestation and poaching of the big cats. The past projects of the society included work with snow leopards in Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia.

Back in 1903, Bronx Zoo became the first zoo in the Western Hemisphere to exhibit snow leopards. In all these years, the place has seen more than 70 snow leopard births; this number is the maximum as compared to any other zoo in the nation.

According to the website of the Bronx Zoo, it is the world's largest urban zoo and is the leader in snow leopard husbandry. The zoo also participates actively in the Species Survival Plan.

The Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, is basically designed to enhance the genetic viability of animal population in zoos.

Both the male cubs can be seen playfully hissing, leaping and pawing at each other as they rush up and down a cliff.

Snow leopards are native to the mountains of Central Asia. They are considered rare as their population in the wild is less than 7,500. They have been classified as endangered species by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and are counted among the world's most endangered big cats. These animals are found in the remote mountains of central Asia and parts of China, Mongolia, Russia, India and Bhutan.

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