Two baby snow leopards, born at the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens in June, made their official debut Thursday.
The male and female cubs, born on June 7, appeared for the first time in front of guests at the zoo’s outdoor enclosure.
Because of their age, the infant felines do not have a set public schedule and won’t be on permanent display until a later date, zoo officials said.
The 9-week old cubs do not yet have a name, according to zoo spokesman Eric Maul.
Regarding today’s debut, Maul said:
“They were a little shy at first… You could see their confidence in the outside world is growing with every minute. They’re doing quite well.”
The cubs were born to mother “Dawa” and father “Jimmy G.” This was Dawa’s first pregnancy and zoo officials are closely monitoring her and the cubs.
“They’re amazingly large. From what I understand that’s normal for their age.”
Snow leopards, native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia, are listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
According to zoo officials, there are only between 7,463 and 7,989 snow leopards left in the wild. They’re typically hunted for their fur and bones, which are used in traditional medicines.
Zoo CEO and Director Tanya Peterson said in a statement:
“As a mother of twins myself, I am overjoyed that we are able to contribute to the survival of this majestic species.”
The zoo’s snow leopard breeding program has been active since 1958, zoo officials said.