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Snow leopard cubs make zoo debut

Snow leopard cub Little Boy tackles a pumpkin while playing in the Central Park Zoo on Thursday. (Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)

Snow leopard cubs make zoo debut

Two yet-to-be-named snow leopard cubs — a male and a female — were introduced at the Central Park Zoo in New York on Wednesday. (The zoo, so far, is dubbing them "Little Boy" and "Little Girl" before they are officially named.) They weigh 30 pounds each, but should bulk up to anywhere from 65 to 120 pounds.
 
The cubs are the first for 7-year-old mother Zoe and 6-year-old father Askai. Snow leopards first arrived at the Central Park Zoo in 2009, and Askai was transferred from the Bronx Zoo in the spring.
 
The cubs' viewing schedule at the zoo will vary as they adjust to their surroundings.
 
These snow leopards are part of what the Wildlife Conservation Society calls a “Species Survival Plan,” in which zoos cooperate to breed leopards to enhance genetic diversity and demographic stability of the animals.
 
The WCS, which works on snow leopard conservation projects in several central Asian countries, says the cats are some of the most endangered in the world. An estimated 3,500 to 6,500 live in the wild. Their range is limited to China, Mongolia, Russia, India and Bhutan.  (WCS/Yahoo News/Gordon Donovan)