A PAIR of critically endangered Amur leopard cubs have been born at Colchester Zoo.

The youngsters were born on September 9 to mum Esra and dad Crispin.

They are the first Amur leopards to have ever been born at the Maldon Road attraction and are another exciting addition to the zoo, which recently announced the birth of three Amur tiger cubs.

A spokesman for Colchester Zoo said: "Leopard cub development is similar to that of their domestic cousins and other similar carnivores in that it takes around two weeks for their eyes to open and four weeks until they become more stable on their feet.

"It will be a number of weeks until they are big and strong enough to begin emerging from their den and this will also be determined by Esra, when she is comfortable and confident for them to start making an appearance outside.

"We’ll be sure to keep you up to date with their development and progress over the next few weeks."

Amur leopards, which originate from the Russian far east and north-east China, are solitary animals and only pair up during mating season.

Breeding the animals has been a long and difficult process but worthwhile as the species is critically endangered in the wild, with only double figures left living in their natural habitat.

Visit colchester-zoo.com.