Ähtäri Zoo says female snow leopard Shila and two cubs died on Vappu Eve.
It happened as the big cat was giving birth to the cubs, and the zoo says serious complications occurred.
Although big cat births are usually problem-free, zoo officials say complications can happen especially during first time pregnancies. This was Shila’s first pregnancy.
In a statement the zoo said they were overwhelmed with sorrow at Shila’s death, especially as she and her cubs were part of an important conservation programme.
Snow leopards are considered as a ‘vulnerable’ species with fewer than 10,000 individuals left in the wild. They’re native to Central and Southern Asia and live in alpine conditions.