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Rare snow leopard trio debuts in Switzerland

June 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A trio of rare snow leopard cubs made their public debut at a zoo in Switzerland alongside their proud parents.

The cubs were born at the Basel Zoo eight weeks ago. The mother and father, Mayhan and Pator, were matched mid-January through a preservation program run by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.

The species has been pushed to the brink of extinction in the Himalayan Ranges of Central Asia. An estimated 4,000 to 6,000 snow leopards are believed to still live in the wild.

These cute cubs will stay at the zoo for their first three years, but they will later travel as ambassadors for their endangered species.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.