CHICAGO (CBS)–A pair of rare Amur leopard Cubs born this year at Brookfield Zoo enjoyed their first look at snow Friday morning when the Chicago area had its first snowflakes of the season.
Photos of the spotted blue-eyed siblings, Samson and Jilin, released by the zoo on Friday, show the cubs curiously pawing and tasting the snow that fell in their enclosure at the zoo.
The photos show the cubs have undergone a noticeable growth spurt since July when the last photos of them were released.
“The cubs appeared quite curious about the white flakes because it was the first time they have seen snow,” zoo officials said in a press release. “Although there was not any accumulation, the cubs, who were born on April 18 and now each weigh about 50 pounds, will surely enjoy playing in more anticipated snow this upcoming season.”
Amur leopards are the northernmost subspecies of leopard in the world and are found only in one isolated population in the Russian Far East, although there may be a few individuals in the Jilin Province of northeast China. The biggest threats to these solitary endangered animals are poaching; retribution hunting; a decrease in their habitat from fires, logging, and human settlement; and a decline in their prey, according to Brookfield Zoo.
Admission to the zoo this winter is free on Tuesdays and Thursdays in November and December and on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays in January and February.