Two three-month-old rare Amur leopard cubs made their debut appearance, greeting the public for the first time at the Leipzig Zoo in Germany on Tuesday (27 June) as their mother, Mia, kept a close eye on them.
The yet-to-be named male cubs were born on 22 April and now weigh more than 4kg (8.8 pounds) each, the Associated Press reported.
The zoo has released an amazing footage of the world's rarest cats briefly playing in water and exploring their enclosure, with their mother Mia closely following them. The incredible video also shows one of the cubs trying to get down from a tree with Mia's help.
The Leipzig Zoo has opened a campaign as the search is now on to name the cubs. Zoo authorities had asked public to give in their suggestions and apparently received some 1,700 names.
The zoo has narrowed down its choice to five pairs of names - Xanto and Tikhon; Amgun and Amasar; Akeno and Zivon; Marik and Majak; and Yerik and Yasuo. Online voters will have to select one pair of name for the male cubs before 5 July.
The Amur leopards, also known as the Far Eastern leopard, are considered critically endangered with only fewer than 60 individuals estimated to be left in the wild. The subspecies are native to the Primorye region of southeastern Russia and the Jilin Province of northeast China.
Their population is said to have increased in the last 10 years, with at least 57 cats – up from 37 cats in 2007 – in Russia and China.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature said that leopard populations are declining around the world. Poaching combined with habitat loss from agricultural and urban development is considered to be their main threat. However, Amur leopards are believed to be by far one of the world's most endangered leopards.