Editors note: This story is from a 2021 announcement. KSN apologizes for the confusion.
GODDARD, Kan. (KSNW) — Tanganyika Wildlife Park announced the birth of three black Amur leopard cubs, the most endangered big cat species in the world.
Mystique, a 7-year-old black Amur Leopard that was born and raised at Tanganyika, gave birth to her litter on April 13.
“Amur leopards are the most critically endangered big cat species with only 50-100 left in their native habitat along the Amur river, which runs the border of Russia and China,” Tanganyika said. “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 says 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.
Tanganyika said Mystique returned to the Wildlife Park after being on a breeding loan to San Diego Zoo in California.
They say she made a big impression and gained a large fan base.
“Many of her fans continue to write letters to us to check on her wellbeing. Now, guests to Tanganyika Wildlife Park will get the rare opportunity to meet her up close and to feed her on the all-new Origins Behind-the-Scenes Tour,” Tanganyika said.
According to Tanganyika, 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 where they napping (which happens a lot!), and they can watch a live feeding around 11:00 a.m. daily,” Tanganyika said.
In addition to the three black Amur leopard cubs, other species, such as jaguars and clouded leopards, can be seen in the nursery.
To learn more about Tanganyika Wildlife Park, located at 1000 S. Hawkins Lane in Godddard, click here.