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Snow leopard moms, cubs captured in first-ever video

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The dens of two snow leopard mothers and their cubs have been located in Mongolia for the first time, with new, unprecedented video showing the mothers and their young inside the den, a conservation organization announced July 12. Snow leopard dens are difficult to find because of the animals' secretive, elusive nature and the difficult, mountainous terrain in which they live. Finding the dens is an important step in learning more about the reproductive behavior and the young of this endangered species. "We have spent years trying to determine when and where snow leopards give birth, the size of their litters, and the chances a cub has of surviving into adulthood," said Tom McCarthy, executive director of the snow leopard program at Panthera, a wild cat conservation organization. More science news from msnbc.com Superheroes join forces with science Science editor Alan Boyle's blog: Maybe Batman couldn't swoop to safety using his cape as a glider, and maybe psychologist... How I created an algorithm for Spider-Man Has Amelia Earhart's beauty case been found? Remains of 15 unearthed in ancient settlement Most of what has been previously known about snow leopards and their young has been gleaned from animals in zoos, where litters typically consist of one to three cubs. How big wild litters are and how the young fair in the wild — where they are subject to predation, disease, poaching and capture for the illegal wildlife trade — was not known.