Snow leopard cub born at Banham Zoo

Zoo keepers are keeping their eyes peeled to CCTV screens following the arrival of a rare snow leopard cub.

The cub, which was born last Monday, comes two years after the arrival of Rocky and Enif's first litter at Banham Zoo.

The latest snow leopard arrival has yet to be named and staff have not yet been able to determine its sex.

A spokesman for Banham Zoo said: 'Despite her being nothing more than a model mother with her first litter, zoo staff carefully monitored Enif's progress during the latter stages of her pregnancy via four CCTV cameras installed in her cubbing box. Internet connection enabled keepers to keep an eye on her around the clock.'

'She finally gave birth at 9.30am just as the zoo opened to the public on June 18. Visitors on the day will have been unaware of the excitement and drama that was unfolding but keepers were constantly monitoring Enif's progress leading to the birth of two cubs.'

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Sadly, one of the cubs was too small and weak and did not survive. However, the remaining cub is 'robust and receiving the full care and attention of Enif', said the spokesman.

A monitor showing the progress of the new arrival at the snow leopard enclosure is set to be switched on this week for visitors to view the CCTV until the cub is strong enough to go outside.

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The snow leopard pair at Banham Zoo have been together since 2008 when Enif arrived from Tokyo Zoo as part of the international conservation-breeding programme for the endangered species. Rocky and Enif's first three cubs, which were born in 2010, departed last year to other zoos as part of the European breeding programme.

There are less than 500 animals housed in zoos and wildlife parks throughout the world. They are found in the mountains of 12 countries across Central Asia and there are estimated to be between 4,000 and 6,500 animals left in the wild .

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