It's a boy and a girl! Rare leopard cubs named by zoo staff
PUBLISHED: 15:34 30 November 2019 | UPDATED: 15:23 02 December 2019
A pair of cute leopard cubs who wowed the public at Colchester Zoo after their birth in September have now been named.
The 10-week-old Amur Leopard cubs created a buzz around the zoo after they entered the world earlier this year and the fluffy siblings have finally been given the names Lena and Luka after health checks confirmed their genders this week.
The pair are the first litter for mum Esra and dad Crispin, both three years old.
Crispin arrived at the zoo in April last year from the Czech Republic, and mum Esra arrived in May from Belgium, with hopes of breeding them together - which have now proved successful.
As Amur leopards are solitary cats, only pairing during breeding season, the animal care team have been introducing Crispin and Esra to one another when Esra shows signs that she is in season.
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When the keepers mixed the pair, it was apparent they enjoyed each other's company during this time and the bond has grown between them since their arrival.
Amur leopards originate from the Russian Far East and north-east China, living in temperate forests. These big cats face a number of threats in the wild, as they are affected by illegal wildlife trade, climate change, habitat loss and deforestation, so this birth is very important for the species.