Endangered baby snow leopards take first steps outside

It’s been a big week for the snow leopard cubs of Hampshire’s Marwell Zoo in the UK. After months living in a den with their mother Irina, three 12-week-old cubs poked their fuzzy heads out into the sunshine for the first time.

The adorable trio, one female and two male cubs, have received their vaccinations and were recently cleared to venture into a larger enclosure, according to the BBC. Zoo staffers said the cubs are already full of personality.

“We are really looking forward to watching these cubs explore their new home,” Marc Fox, team leader of carnivores, told the BBC. “It’s great fun watching them play together.”

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We can’t help but agree.

Two of the cuddly cubs have been given names, but the zoo is now looking for help in naming the third. According to the zoo’s website, the female is called Animesh, which means ‘bright’ in Nepalese, and one of the males has been named Ariun, which means ‘pure’ in Mongolian. You can submit your suggestions for the second male’s name to Marwell up until July 22, when the zoo will open voting to the public.

The three cubs are part of the global captive snow leopard population that is helping sustain the endangered species. The World Wildlife Fund estimates that there may be as few as 4,000 left worldwide.
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