Zoo Miami has announced their first successful births of highly endangered Clouded Leopards. The two female kittens were born on March 13 and have been secluded in a den with their mother since then to avoid any external stress and allow the new mother to properly bond with them.
Zoo staff were able to separate the mother from her cubs for the first time this week to do a neonatal exam in order to evaluate the condition of the kittens and accurately determine their sexes. Both offspring are doing well and the mother continues to be attentive and nurse them on a regular basis. The mother and kittens will remain off exhibit for the next several weeks until zoo staff determine that they are established and stable enough to face the public.
The mother, Serai, was born in May of 2011 at the Smithsonian’s Conservation and Research Center in Virginia. The father, Rajasi, was born in March of 2011 at the Nashville Zoo in Tennessee. This is the first successful litter for both parents.
See and read more after the fold.
Clouded Leopards are a very secretive cat found in the forests of Southern China, Taiwan, and Malaysia. Adults usually weigh between 30 and 50 pounds (18-23 kg) and they have a very long tail with relatively short legs and large paws to facilitate their frequent arboreal lifestyle. Their diet includes a variety of birds and mammals including monkeys, deer, and porcupines. Clouded Leopards have the longest canine teeth relative to their size of any wild cat. They are highly endangered over most of their range due to hunting for their attractive pelts which have ceremonial value in a variety of cultures.