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Three Persian Leopard Cubs Born at Lisbon Zoo


Three Persian Leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) cubs were born on the 23rd of October at Lisbon Zoo as part of their conservation programme.  The Persian Leopard is currently classified as “endangered” by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). 

In a partnership with the Mirpuri Foundation, Lisbon Zoo asked visitors to take part in a voting competition for one of the cubs.  The name is to honour the territory from which the species originates, the Caucasus.  The names listed are Zangezur and Talish; both names represent mountain ranges in the Caucasus region.  An area which is considered of extreme importance for the survival of the species. 

The remaining cub’s names were chosen by the Zoo and the Mirpuri Foundation.  They chose Kiamaky; a mountain in the region, wherein 2014 researchers recorded the first evidence of breeding activity among Persian Leopards; and Amirhossein-Khaleghi, an Iranian conservationist who dedicates his life to the conservation of the species.

Currently, there is thought to be 1,129 adult Persian Leopards in the wild.  Approximately 550 – 850 are thought to exist in Iran with a further 450 adults scattered through Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, North Caucasus (Russia), Turkey, Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh (also known as Artsakh, South Caucasus).

The video below, shared by the zoo, shows Elin (Leopard) in the last stages of pregnancy and the birth of her young.  According to José Dias Ferreira, coordinator of the European breeding programme for this leopard subspecies, ‘the offspring are healthy, and already exploring their environment alongside their excellent and protective mother.’ 

Samantha Gannon

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Madeira Weekly