See One of the World's Rarest Big Cats
It's estimated that fewer than 60 Amur leopards are left in the wild, making them one of the world's most endangered cats.
They are rarely seen, but footage from a camera trap recently captured two cubs and their mom on camera. Tucked behind a small rocky cave, the two spotted cubs enter the camera's line of sight. Their mom, nearly twice their size, waits just outside.
The footage was filmed inside the Land of the Leopard National Park in Russia's Primorsky Province, which borders China. Established in 2012 as a partnership between the Russian government and the World Wildlife Federation, the park covers 60 percent of the Amur leopard's remaining habitat.
In a statement released by the World Wildlife Fund, experts claim the kittens are roughly four months old. At this age, they have a decent shot at growing up to become integral members of the park's leopard population.
But surviving in the wild is no easy feat. Park officials noted that in order to protect their young, mothers must be constantly vigilant. Young kittens are susceptible to becoming prey for other predators.
The camera trap, which responds to motion, was previously triggered by an Amur tiger, or Siberian tiger, an even larger predator. That suggests the danger the kittens may face.
The cub's four-year-old mother, nicknamed Berry, is accustomed to the spotlight.
An online documentary called "Spotted Family" released in 2014 shows Berry during adolescence. She became an Internet star after camera traps caught her rolling, playing, and frolicking alone in the woods.
While the national park serves as a critical protected area for Amur leopards, the area itself is relatively small, sitting on 262 thousand hectares.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature notes that leopard populations are declining around the world (learn more about this). They face a significant threat from poaching and loss of habitat. Conflict with humans is also a significant danger for leopards. Many are prematurely killed to reduce the perceived threat they pose to the community.
Amur leopards, however, are by far one of the world's most endangered leopards, if not the most endangered cat. It is considered critically endangered.
In a press release, a senior adviser to the WWF-Russia Amur Branch noted that capturing Berry on film in the wild is a big win.
"For the first time the audience has seen something that no one has seen before—a real family of leopards in their natural habitat."