Zoos can play a vital role in the sustainability of a species and this zoo is doing just that.

Niabi Zoo has announced the birth of two Amur Leopards. Considered the most critically endangered big cat in the world, Niabi Zoo says there are less than 100 Amur Leopards still in the wild. During 2021, only seven Amur Leopards were born in the United States. The babies born on February 24 at Niabi Zoo (photos below) are the first ones known to be born in the U.S. this year. Their names haven't been picked out yet. Unfortunately, a third baby passed away after just a few days.

Niabia Zoo
Niabia Zoo
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Niabi Zoo
Niabi Zoo
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Three years ago, the Amur Leopard Specices Survival planning group chose Niabi Zoo as a partner. According to the zoo, that meant they "would receive and house one of several Amur Leopards that would be brought in from zoos in Europe to breek with our genetically valuable male Amur Leopard "Jilin".

On June 2, 2021, Niabi Zoo received a female Amur Leopard named "Iona" from Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens in Great Britain.

According to World Wildlife, Amur Leopards can run up to 37 miles per hour. They weigh anywhere from 70 to 105 pounds and have been known to leap 10 feet high and an astonishing 19 feet horitzonally. Also known as the Far East Leopard, Korean Leopard, and Manchurian Leopard, they live up to 15 years in the wild and up to 20 years in captivity. The World Wildlife Fund says they live and hunt alone and are mostly found in forests in China and Russia.

Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley, Illinois opens for the season on April 18. They will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. The zoo is about 90 minutes from Cedar Rapids and approximately 2-hours and 15-minutes from Waterloo.

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