Rare Snow Leopard Cub Born at English Big Cat Sanctuary and He's 'Full of Attitude'
The Big Cat Sanctuary has added a stunning new member to its feline family!
On Thursday, the organization announced the birth of a rare snow leopard. The male cub was born on Sept. 15 to parents Laila and Yarko as part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme.
As of now, the baby snow leopard doesn't have a name. In a release, the Big Cat Sanctuary shared that they are calling the new arrival "Little Cub" until a competition to choose a name for the big cat — while raising funds for the facility and Snow Leopard Trust — is complete.
"We are exceptionally proud to announce the birth of a snow leopard cub to Laila and Yarko at The Big Cat Sanctuary as part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme," Lynn Whitnall, a trustee for The Big Cat Sanctuary, said in the facility's recent release. "We know that our 'little cub' will raise vital awareness and funds for her counterparts in the wild, and we will continue to support The Snow Leopard Trust out in the field."
"Little Cub" currently weighs about 5 pounds and is now under the care of Laila and the sanctuary's staff. Before exploring his outside enclosure, the baby animal will likely spend two months behind the scenes with his mother.
The facility also shared a YouTube video as part of the cub's birth announcement, featuring clips of the snow leopard cuddling up to Laila — who is also mom to two other male cubs, Koshi and Khumbu, born in 2019. The new cub is described as "full of attitude and isn't afraid of anything or anyone."
Snow leopards are currently listed as "vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List, with about 4,080 to 6,500 estimated to be living in the wild today.
"They are highly threatened in the wild due to poaching for their fur and the traditional medicine trade," The Big Cat Sanctuary said in their release. "The breeding programme will help boost the captive population of Snow leopards which gives hope to this vulnerable species if they ever go extinct or critically-endangered in the wild."
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The facility shared that Yarko is currently separated from Laila and the cub. The plan is to reintroduce the snow leopards as a family in the future.
"We have had a year full of ups and downs at The Big Cat Sanctuary, and the birth of our little snow leopard cub is absolutely fabulous news," Briony Smith, a facility curator, said in a statement. "He appears to be developing and growing beautifully and is becoming more active day by day. Laila is an experienced mother and is just as attentive and devoted with this little one as she has been before."