Denver Zoo Welcomes Birth Of Critically Endangered Amur Leopard Cub (PHOTOS)

06/19/2012 03:21 pm ET

Guests of The Denver Zoo are in for a rare, new site -- a young male Amur leopard cub was recently born at the zoo and is now viewable by the public.

The critically endangered Amur leopard cub named Makar (Mah-car) is the first birth of this species at The Denver Zoo since 1996, according to a Denver Zoo press release.

Since his birth, Makar has been spending a lot of time with his mother, Dazma (Dazz-mah), behind-the-scenes, but just received a clean bill of health from zoo veterinarians and is now viewable in the zoo's Feline Building.

Makar was born to his mother Dazma and father (Hari-Kari (Harry Care-ee). Dazma was born at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in 2001 and came to Denver Zoo in 2004, Hari-Kari was born at El Paso Zoo in 2003 and came from there in 2005.

Amur leopards take their name from the Amur region of Asia located along the Chinese-Russian border, according to The Denver Zoo. Although the Amur leopard is currently considered critically endangered and are nearly extinct in the wild, they once flourished throughout the region -- from South Korea to north of China and into southern Russia. Now, less than 40 Amur leopards are estimated to remain in the wild.

Poaching for fur, loss of habitat and trophy hunting are the primary reasons cited for their decline.

When Makar grows up he could reach nearly 120 pounds and measure up to two-and-a-half-feet tall at the shoulder and eight-to-nine feet-long from head to tail, like other males of the species.

LOOK at photos of Makar and other Amur leopards around the world:

The Denver Zoo Welcomes Birth Of Endangered Amur Leopard Cub

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