The Toronto Zoo has announced the birth of three snow leopard cubs, two clouded leopard cubs and five cheetah cubs despite an ongoing strike for employees.

The birth of the animals was announced in a news release issued on Tuesday but the baby animals have been living at the zoo for a few weeks.

Three snow leopard cubs were born to seven-year-old Ena and 13-year-old Kota on the morning of May 18.

On May 13, two clouded leopard cubs became a first for the Toronto Zoo. They were born in the afternoon to mom Pavarti and dad Mingma.

However, after their birth the cubs had to be moved to the intensive care unit to be provided with the neonatal care they required giving them the best chance at survival.

“With their impending births, and based on the advice of clouded leopard experts, the Zoo had developed a hand-raising protocol based on best practices from other zoological institutions as clouded leopards,” the news release said. “The Zoo initiated this protocol when the vet determined the cubs were experiencing failing health.”

The cubs are currently in stable condition and are continuing to receive appropriate care.

“We are absolutely delighted about these new arrivals,” Toronto Zoo’s Chief Veterinarian Dr. Chris Dutton said in the news release. “Our joint Wildlife Health and Wildlife Care team are working around the clock in the new ICU to help ensure they continue to thrive.”

As well, five cheetah cubs were born in the Zoo’s off-exhibit cheetah breeding area during the morning of April 30. The parents are mom four-year-old Laini and eight-year-old dad Patonga.

The Toronto Zoo said cubs usually give birth between two and four cubs at a time, but litters of up to eight have been recorded.

“Laini is doing a superb job of caring for her large litter – which is also her first,” the news release said.

Toronto Zoo on strike

Amidst these happy moments for the Toronto Zoo, more than 400 employees continue to remain off the job

The zoo has been closed to the public since May 11 after the zoo and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1600 were unable to reach a tentative contract by the midnight strike deadline on May 10.

Management and striking workers met on Saturday following a meeting of the zoo’s board of management. At the meeting, both sides were blaming each other resulting in negotiations being broken down.

No further discussion times have been scheduled.

While the strike is going on, the animals are being cared for by managers, some of whom are former zoo keepers.

“The Toronto Zoo exempt staff is committed to providing care to the animals during the strike by CUPE Local 1600 members,” the news release said.

Despite the current closure of the zoo these new animals will not be visible to the public for a few month as the snow leopard and cheetah moms are off-exhibit while they care for their babies.

As well, the clouded leopard cubs will remain in the ICU as they require ongoing care.