Adorable Amur leopard cubs are named!

September 10, 2016

A competition to name one of our male Amur leopard cubs has come to a close and we can reveal that the winning name is Kazimir!

Kazimir, which is a Russian name meaning ‘destroyer of peace’, was a clear favourite after receiving 49% of the public votes.

At just thirteen weeks old Kazimir is starting to explore his new home with brother Anik under the watchful eye of his mother, Kaia. 

The Amur leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is the world’s most threatened big cat, with fewer than 70 remaining in their natural range in the Russian Far-East and Northeast China.  

The cubs were born to mum, Kaia, on Saturday 25th June and are now fully vaccinated so can safely venture outside of the den.  

Young Amur leopard cubs are not only wonderful to watch but these new arrivals are also an important addition to the European Endangered species breeding Programme (EEP) to preserve critical genetic diversity.  

Kaia and dad, Akin, have previously bred a female cub, Kanika, in 2014.  

Amur leopards are under serious risk of extinction and maintaining a healthy captive population is crucial to the global conservation of the species. The wild population has been declining over many decades due to pressure from humans.  Habitat loss and hunting of both the leopards themselves, as well as their prey species has played a major role in their decline.  

Dr Philip Riordan, Marwell Wildlife’s Head of Conservation Biology, has been working with colleagues in China to develop positive actions for the species, he said: “Thanks to the efforts of colleagues in Beijing Forestry University’s Wildlife Institute, the Amur leopard has now been highlighted as a priority and is receiving vital support from Chinese central government.

“We are working with provincial wildlife departments in Jilin and Heilongjiang to identify critical areas of habitat with good prey populations that can receive enhanced protection and provide space for these cats to exist and their numbers to increase.”