See the snow leopard mother cuddle with her adorable cubs at the Swiss zoo

It’s easy to spot a perfect mother when this snow leopard is snuggled up to her newborn cubs.

Video footage released by Zurich Zoo in Switzerland shows her looking after the two little boys while dad comes to visit.

According to the zoo, the first birth took place on May 5th, around 24 hours later a sibling was born.

According to the snow leopard zoo’s experts, a few hours between births was not uncommon.

However, they stressed that 24 hours was an unusually long delay.

Footage from a surveillance camera mounted on the ceiling of the snow leopard couple’s dark, cozy den shows first-time mother Saida slowly walking around her cubs several times before carefully lying down beside them.

Snow leopard cubs at Zurich Zoo
In early May 2022, two adorable snow leopard cubs were born at Zurich Zoo in Switzerland, listed as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Zurich Zoo, Nicole Schnyder/Zenger

Dad Shahrukh is only seen once, coming in for a few moments to check on Saida and her little ones.

The zoo was quick to point out that male snow leopards don’t play a major role in the rearing. It added that Saida very rarely left the cave.

The sex of the unnamed cubs has not yet been determined.

Saida and Shahrukh have been the only two snow leopards at Zurich Zoo since the death of a 17-year-old male in August 2020.

Saida and Shahrukh, both 4 years old, were previously kept in UK zoos.

The name Shahrukh derives from an Arabic term meaning ‘like a king’s face’, while the feminine given name Saida means ‘lucky’ or ‘fortunate’.

The snow leopard pair began mating outside their enclosure in January this year, to the delight of zoo visitors.

Snow leopards become sexually mature at 2 to 3 years of age.

Female snow leopard estrus typically lasts five to eight days. Mating snow leopards mate up to 35 times a day.

They can live 15 to 18 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity.

Snow leopard cubs are blind and helpless at birth, but already have thick fur. They weigh about 450 grams (1 pound) at birth and their eyes open after about seven days.

They can walk by five weeks and usually leave the den when they are around 2 to 4 months old.

Zurich Zoo said visitors can expect to catch a glimpse of the adorable newborns in two to four months as Saida will continue to feed them in the coming weeks.

Zurich Zoo was opened in 1929. It is the third oldest zoo in Switzerland.

The snow leopard (Panthera uncia) is a felid of the genus Panthera, native to the mountain ranges of central and southern Asia. It inhabits alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 9,800 to 14,800 feet.

It is listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

Their global population – currently estimated at fewer than 10,000 mature individuals – is projected to decline by 10 percent by 2040.

The IUCN is an international organization in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources based in Gland, Switzerland.

The biggest threats to snow leopard populations are habitat destruction, poaching, and the illegal trade in skins and body parts.

Their natural habitat extends from eastern Afghanistan, the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau to southern Siberia, Mongolia and western China.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News. See the snow leopard mother cuddle with her adorable cubs at the Swiss zoo

Rick Schindler

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