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Chicago Has Just Been Blessed With Two Rare Snow Leopard Cubs

There are only an estimated 4,000 to 6,500 of the elusive cats remaining in the wild.

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For the second time this month, Chicago's zoos blessed the public with endangered babies, this time, a pair of snow leopard cubs.

On Friday, the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago announced the births of two rare snow leopards.

The sister cubs were born on June 16 to their 4-year-old mother, Sarani, and currently weigh about 10 pounds each, according to the zoo.

The announcement came just as Chicago was recovering from the news that two red panda cubs born this summer at Lincoln Park Zoo were one step closer to making their public debut.

There are just 145 snow leopards living at 63 institutions in North America, according to the Chicago Zoological Society.

The endangered snow leopard population is believed to have declined by at least 20% over the past two generations — or 16 years — due to loss of habitat and prey, poaching, and persecution, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The snow leopard is restricted to the high mountains of Central Asia, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and Russia.

According to the Snow Leopard Trust, there are only an estimated 4,000 to 6,500 of the elusive cats remaining in the wild.

For now, the cubs at Brookfield Zoo will continue to bond with their mother in their den, as they prepare to make their public debut in mid-October.

Watch a video of Chicago's newest snow leopards here:

View this video on YouTube

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Jason Wells is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jason Wells at jason.wells@buzzfeed.com.

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