The little leopards have been using the outdoor enclosure regularly since October 24. They spend the day in the exhibit depending on the weather and their will. They also have permanent access to the inner box. The best chance is to catch them shortly after nine in the morning or around lunchtime.
"Banu gave birth for the first time, but she is handling the care very well. She watches over the cubs and reacts to the slightest disturbance with a threatening growl," describes zoologist Gabriela Linhart. Therefore, the first check on both cubs took place only now, although the birth took place on August 22. "The keepers found out that they were two males, and they also dewormed the cubs. Then they quickly let the mother back into the box," she adds.
The cubs are starting to move away from the crate to which Banu transferred them shortly after birth. But they remain in the background. "They will be vaccinated in about a month, after which they will be able to go to the paddock. It is a hardy species, so they will be visible throughout the winter," adds Gabriela Linhart.
The mother of the cubs is a three-year-old female Banu, who arrived to Dvůr Králové last June from Cologne. The father is a seven-year-old male Arkhyz. He is extremely genetically valuable. The Safari Park acquired him in 2017 from Sochi, Russia. He is not related to other Persian leopards in Europe, so his cubs are a great promise for breeding in the future.
It is precisely the large degree of kinship between individual animals that is a major problem for the conservation population in human care. Although previously Persian leopards were relatively widespread in zoos, they gradually disappeared and remained almost only in European ones. Arkhyz is a significant recovery for this population, as are his young.
The joy is also enhanced by the fact that in the last 12 months, Persian leopards have not been born in any other world zoo included in the prestigious ZIMS database. Currently, Persian leopards can be seen in 45 of them.