Small leopard offers new hope for endangered species

Olga is an old Norse name meaning "holy." It's also the name given an Amur leopard cub born at Parken Zoo in Eskilstuna on June 21. Not only were her mother Takara and father Boris proud, but Olga brings hope for her species there are only about 35 left in the wild today, and 300 in zoos around the world, including 90 in U.S. zoos.

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The breeding efforts are part of a growing international effort to save the Amur leopard from extinction. Parken Zoo is part of a European breeding program that aims to increase the number of wild animals to 80 within 15 to 20 years.

Though Olga was born more than two months ago, she just had her first veterinary examination on Aug. 28. An endangered animal has special rights when it comes to examinations. She was weighed, measured and got a chip in her ear, which the 9 pound, 3 ounce package of muscle was't too happy about. But everything went well and Olga could return with her mother.