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ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Zoo recently welcomed two Amur leopard cubs, a critically endangered species.

Leopard cubs Anya and Irina were born at the zoo on April 21, 2022. The little females are the first leopard cubs born at the Zoo since 2010. Their names mean “grace” and “peace” in foreign languages.

The cubs are the first two born from mother Dorothy, or Dot, and father Samson. Both Dot and Samson are four years old.

The St. Louis Zoo tells FOX 2 that their births are a significant contribution to the population of Amur leopards in North American zoos. This species is considered one of the most endangered cats in the world.

“Dot is an excellent mother. It’s exciting to see this first-time mom providing great care to her cubs,” said Steve Bircher, Kevin Beckmann Curator of Carnivores, Saint Louis Zoo. “There are so few of these rare big cats left in the world and each birth is extremely important for the survival of the species.”

Anya and Irina weighed nearly 2.5 pounds at that time, which zoo officials say is normal for their age.