Rare snow leopards born at Akron Zoo: PHOTOS

AKRON, Ohio - Two rare snow leopard cubs were born at the Akron Zoo last month, the zoo announced Wednesday.

The cubs, a male and a female, make the second time their parents Shanti and Roscoe have had a successful litter. The two males born to the couple in 2012 live at zoos in Michigan and Rhode Island.

The new cubs and their mother Shanti will remain indoors until late June or July, when they will be healthy enough to go back into their exhibit.

The Akron Zoo staff was one of the first in the country to use training, instead of anesthesia, to perform ultrasounds and monitor the cubs' development while they were in Shanti's womb.

Snow leopards are endangered, primarily due to loss of habitat, illegal poaching for their pelts and body parts and killings by local herders after snow leopards preyed on livestock. There are believed to be fewer than 4,000 snow leopards in the wild.

A naming contest for the cubs will be announced in a few weeks.

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