Endangered leopards born at wildlife park


GODDARD – A litter of three black Amur leopard cubs was born on April 13 at Tanganyika Wildlife Park. The mother, Mystique, is a 7-year-old black Amur leopard that was born and raised at Tanganyika.
Amur leopards are the most critically endangered big cat species with only 50 to 100 left in their native habitat along the Amur River, which runs the border of Russia and China. Black Amur leopards are even rarer – in fact, this litter of cubs doubles the population of black Amur leopards in the world. Until now, there were only three known to exist, including Mystique.
Carnivore keeper Jerica Tullis said that “breeding programs like the one at Tanganyika Wildlife Park are vital to the survival of the species.”
“In addition to the importance of breeding programs, conservation organizations work with local governments to set up protected areas like the one called the Land of the Leopards National Park,” Tullis said.

This is one of three black Amur leopard cubs born last month at Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Goddard.

Mystique recently returned to Tanganyika after being on a breeding loan to San Diego Zoo in California, where she made a big impression and gained a large fan base. Many of her fans continue to write letters to Tanganyika Wildlife Park to check on her wellbeing.
Black Amur leopards are also known as melanistic Amur leopards. Melanism is the overdevelopment of dark pigment and is a recessive genetic trait, just like red hair or blue eyes in humans.
All three cubs are currently in Tanganyika’s nursery, where they are carefully monitored and fed four times a day by the zookeeper team. Visitors at Tanganyika can see them through nursery windows when they are napping, which happens a lot. They can watch a live feeding around 11 a.m. daily.
In addition to the three black Amur leopard cubs, other species such as jaguars and clouded leopards can be seen in the nursery.