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Persian leopards born in Russia first in 50 years

The leopards are found in declining numbers in the Caucasus region and parts of Central Asia.

Persian leopardsEnlarge
Two Persian leopard cubs were born in Russia in an effort to repopulate the Caucasus region with the endangered animal. (Wikipedia/Wikimedia commons)

Persian leopard cubs were born in a Russian sanctuary recently, the first in 50 years, says the World Wildlife Foundation.

The leopards are found in declining numbers in the Caucasus region and parts of Central Asia, like Turkmenistan and Afghanistan.

The endangered cats were born at the Persian Leopard Breeding and Rehabilitation Centre, Sochi National Park in south-western Russia.

Persian leopards are believed to number around 1,000 in total and only a handful remain in the Caucasus region. Their numbers were dramatically reduced in the 20th century due to habitat loss and poaching.

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The cats were bred in an effort to repopulate the Caucasus mountains. They are learning survival skills before being released.

"[The cubs] will be released into the wild after learning surviving skills and will start a new population of the leopards in the Caucasus Mountains," said Natalia Dronova, WWF-Russia species coordinator.

The cubs are currently living in a den with their mother for at least two months.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/130720/persian-leopards-born-russia-first-50-years