Two 14-week-old Clouded Leopard cubs, Riki-san and Haui-san, were spotted pouncing, climbing and using each other as trampolines in the San Diego Zoo's Children’s Zoo nursery. The cubs arrived earlier this week from the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, where a very successful breeding program has helped to increase the population of this critically endangered species.
Brothers Riki-san and Haui-san will spend 30 days in quarantine, where they are visible to the public daily and have already become guest favorites. After this quarantine period, the cubs will join the Zoo’s Backstage Pass animal ambassador program.
Named for its cloud-like spots, the male Clouded Leopard can weigh up to 50 pounds 22.6 kgs). This cat is found mostly in the Southeast Asian rain forest and is an excellent swimmer and climber. In fact, the Clouded Leopard and the Margay from South America are the only cat species that can climb down a tree head first, thanks to the flexibility of the ankle joints.
Photo Credit: ZSSD/San Diego Zoo
Thirteen-pound Riki-san (right) is the larger of the two cats but is also the more timid one. His coat pattern is darker and his rosettes more pronounced. According to zookeepers, Haui-san, at 11.5 pounds, is feisty and quite playful, enticing his bigger brother to wrestle and play a game of chase.