Clouded Leopard

Leaps and Bounds for Leap Year Leopard Cubs

1_TLPZ Clouded leopard cubs (8) by Lia Nydes

The almost-three-month-old Clouded Leopard sisters, Aiya and Shigu, born February 29 at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, are developing by leaps and bounds---literally!

At the end of April, the cubs were introduced to the Zoo’s main Clouded Leopard habitat to help keep them safe while they practice their new motor skills.

The transition to an enclosed exhibit will allow the cub’s greater independence to climb, pounce and leap in a supervised environment. For the near term, public viewing will continue once daily in the new location. A rotation through different natural environments provides essential sensory enrichment for continued development. Allowing guests to observe the cubs at play provides an educational opportunity to communicate the needs and perils of this rare and vulnerable species. The cubs’ long-term home has not yet been determined.

2_TLPZ Clouded leopard cubs (1) by Dave Parkinson

3_TLPZ Clouded leopard cubs (2) by Dave Parkinson

4_TLPZ Clouded leopard cubs (3) by Dave ParkinsonPhoto Credits: Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo & Image 1: Lia Nydes; Images 2,3,4: Dave Parkinson; Images 5,6,7,8: Caitlin Chase; Images 9,10: Zootastic

 

 

Aiya and Shigu are the first set of multiples for the Zoo’s pair of 5-year-old adult Leopards. When their birth mother became anxious and stopped caring for them, the Zoo’s animal care team intervened to provide necessary assistance. Within the managed population, Clouded Leopard cubs are routinely hand-reared for the best chance of survival. This practice also improves socialization for early introductions to potential mates and reduces aggression between pairs. For their safety, the cubs will alternate exhibit time with the Zoo’s adult Leopards (they will not be reintroduced).

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP) designed to support the conservation of select wildlife at risk of extinction. The Zoo’s parents, Yim (male) and Malee (female), were matched by the SSP and have lived together at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo since six months of age (2011).

The Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) is a wild cat native to the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China, and has been classified as “Vulnerable”, in 2008, by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Its total population size is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend, and no single population numbering more than 1,000 adults.

Adult Clouded Leopards weigh between 11.5 and 23 kg (25 and 51 lbs.). Females vary in head-to-body length from 68.6 to 94 cm (27.0 to 37.0 in), with a tail 61 to 82 cm (24 to 32 in) long. Males are larger at 81 to 108 cm (32 to 43 in) with a tail 74 to 91 cm (29 to 36 in) long. Their shoulder height varies from 50 to 55 cm (20 to 22 in).

They are often referred to as a “modern-day saber tooth” because they have the largest canines in proportion to their body size, matching the tiger in canine length.

Both males and females average 26 months at first reproduction. Mating usually occurs during December and March. After a gestation period of 93 ± 6 days, females give birth to a litter of one to five, most often three cubs. The male is not involved in raising the kittens.

Initially, the young are blind and helpless, much like the young of many other cats, and weigh from 140 to 280 g (4.9 to 9.9 oz). Unlike adults, the kittens' spots are "solid" — completely dark rather than dark rings. The young can see within about 10 days of birth, are active within five weeks, and are fully weaned at around three months of age. They attain the adult coat pattern at around six months, and probably become independent after around 10 months. Females are able to bear one litter each year. The mother is believed to hide her kittens in dense vegetation while she goes to hunt, though little concrete evidence supports this theory, since their lifestyle is so secretive.

Continue reading "Leaps and Bounds for Leap Year Leopard Cubs" »


Clouded Leopard Cubs Are a Triple Threat of Cuteness

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Clouded Leopard triplets were born March 30 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. They are under the 24-hour care of keepers who feed them seven times a day and see to all of their other needs.

They squeak. They crawl a bit--sometimes over each other. They huddle together closely, looking like a big ball of spotted fur with legs and tails sticking out. They eagerly eat their special formula. And they sleep…a lot!

“Hand-rearing of these endangered exotic cats is an established practice that’s critical for their well-being as cubs and their later participation in the Species Survival Plan program for Clouded Leopards”, said staff biologist Andy Goldfarb.

Goldfarb has spent three decades caring for and raising endangered cats, and is known internationally as an expert in raising Clouded Leopards.

The cubs each weighed around 13 ounces, or just about three-quarters of a pound, at their first checkup. It’s still too early to tell their genders for certain, and they have yet to be named. The zoo will issue a news release and post to its Facebook page when details are available on how the public can help name the cubs.

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4_160406_pdza_leopardcubs_42Photo Credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium 

No date has been determined for their public debut, but zoological staff members expect the triplets’ feeds will be viewable in the Cats of the Canopy exhibit Cub Den by the end of April.

“These cubs are particularly valuable to the Species Survival Plan managed breeding program because the genetics of their mother, Sang Dao, are not represented in the population. That increases genetic diversity among the Clouded Leopards in North America,” Goldfarb said.

Sang Dao came to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium three years ago from Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Kansas. The cubs’ father, Tien, was born at Point Defiance Zoo three years ago. They are first-time parents.

The species is under significant pressure in the wild from encroachment and destruction of its habitat, as well as poaching.

The cats, which live in the forests and trees of Southeast Asia, are elusive, and it’s difficult to know how many remain in the wild.

“These cats are very rare,” Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium General Curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said. “We hope visitors to the zoo will connect with them and be inspired to take action to help save their species in the wild.”

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium long has been a leader in Clouded Leopard conservation. Both Goodrowe Beck and Goldfarb, supported by The Zoo Society’s Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund, have worked with zookeepers in Thailand on improving ways to breed and rear Clouded Leopards. Goodrowe Beck holds a Ph.D. in reproductive biology.

Having a robust population of Clouded Leopards in zoos allows scientists to study the species’ behavior, physiology and medical conditions. That’s not possible in the wild, Goodrowe Beck said. But the information gained may one day help scientists develop conservation strategies for helping the species in the wild.

Maintaining Clouded Leopard populations in zoos allows animals like Sang Dao and Tien – and their cubs – to inspire people to take action on behalf of wildlife and wild places.

The Point Defiance Zoo’s “Paws for the Cause” program, meanwhile, helps consumers understand the link between some foods they eat, products they use and the deforestation of animal habitat half a world away.

The program also provides shoppers with tips on choosing products with deforestation-free palm oil and ways to get engaged by urging companies to make wildlife friendly choices in the raw materials they buy.

Palm oil, used in a wide variety of goods from candy to shampoo and body lotion to laundry soap, is derived from the oil palm tree. And some palm oil production results in wholesale destruction of the habitat on which Clouded Leopards, Orangutans, Tigers, Tapirs and other animals depend.

To learn more about this and how to take action, go to: www.pdza.org/pawsforthecause.

To learn more about Clouded Leopards, go to: www.pdza.org/clouded-leopard and www.cloudedleopard.org.

Tacoma zookeepers founded the nonprofit Clouded Leopard Project 15 years ago (www.cloudedleopard.org). The group works closely with the Zoo and The Zoo Society in fundraising efforts for conservation projects.

More adorable pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "Clouded Leopard Cubs Are a Triple Threat of Cuteness" »


Two Cute: Clouded Leopard Cubs Born in Tampa

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Two rare Clouded Leopard cubs born February 29 are stable after their mother stopped caring for them at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo.

Clouded leopard female cub 1 mar 6 2016

Clouded leopard female cub feeding 1 mar 6 2016Photo Credit:  Dave Parkinson/Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo

 

Malee, the cubs’ mother, initially nursed them but after about 24 hours she stopped caring for her cubs.  Keepers decided to hand-rear the cubs to ensure their survival.

The cubs, a male and a female, receive around-the-clock care in the zoo’s veterinary hospital and nurse from a bottle five times a day.  They are the first set of multiples for Malee and her mate Yim, whose first offspring Mowgli was born in 2015. Over the next several weeks, the cubs will open their eyes, develop teeth, and begin to move on their own.   

Though parent-rearing is often best for zoo-dwelling animals, Clouded Leopards are routinely hand-reared for increased chances of survival. Hand-rearing also improves socialization for early introductions to potential mates and reduces fatal attacks by aggressive adults.

“Increasingly zoos are the last hope for many species due to the loss of habitat and political instability in range countries. The birth of these cubs is an example of the collective efforts to manage this species within North American zoos to ensure their survival,” said Dr. Larry Killmar, Chief Zoological Officer, Senior Vice President, and Zoo Director. 

See more photos of the cubs below.

Continue reading "Two Cute: Clouded Leopard Cubs Born in Tampa" »


UPDATE: Clouded Leopard Quad Makes Public Debut

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Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s Clouded Leopard quadruplets made their official public debut on June 5th.  Visitors will be able to see the 4-week-old cubs during their 9:30am, 1:30pm and 5pm feedings, at the Tacoma, Washington zoo. 

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4_11270592_10153008384934624_9088163299593101321_oPhoto Credits: Ingrid Barrentine/Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

The cubs were born May 12 to mom, Chai-Li, and father, Nah-Fun. After their birth, Chai-Li nursed her litter for about 30 hours but, unfortunately, demonstrated she would no longer care for the newborns. According to the zoo’s General Curator, Karen Goodrowe Beck Ph.D., hand-raising the tiny Clouded Leopards was a necessary step for their health, growth and development.

Keepers plan to announce the cub’s names and genders within the coming weeks.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is a recognized leader in conservation of the species. The Zoo Society’s Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund sponsors Clouded Leopard research throughout Southeast Asia. Goodrowe Beck and staff biologist, Andy Goldfarb, make periodic trips to the Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand to participate in a collaborative breeding program. Zoo Education Curator, Karen Povey, conducts education work in Southeast Asia to help children learn about Clouded Leopards and the perils they face in the wild. Zookeepers, in Tacoma, Washington, founded The Clouded Leopard Project fifteen years ago to aid in continual conservation of this amazing species.

The cub’s feeding times will change as they grow. Visitors are encouraged to check the zoo’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PtDefianceZoo?ref=hl and website at www.pdza.org for exhibit times. They also will be posted at the front gate of the zoo.

There are just 93 Clouded Leopards, in 25 North American zoos, that participate in the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan.® Fifteen cubs have been born through the program this year.

Counting the quadruplet cubs, eleven Clouded Leopards live at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.

People who are inspired by the Clouded Leopards’ story and want to contribute to conservation programs, on their behalf, may donate to the Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund through the donation kiosk at the Cats of the Canopy exhibit on zoo grounds or through The Zoo Society at www.pdza.org/donate .

More amazing pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "UPDATE: Clouded Leopard Quad Makes Public Debut" »


Clouded Leopard Quadruplets Born at Point Defiance Zoo

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Four Clouded Leopard cubs, born at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, on May 12, recently had their first official portraits. The quadruplets were born to mom, ‘Chai-Li’, and father, ‘Nah-Fun’. 

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4_150517_pdza_cubs_39Photo Credits: Ingrid Barrentine/Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

The tiny cubs are not yet on exhibit. The zoo will announce later this month when the public will be able to see them and reveal details on how and when they’ll be named.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium staff biologist Andy Goldfarb, who has worked with exotic cats for three decades, is pleased with their progress. “They are eating and gaining weight,” he said. “All four are active and moving around well.”

Caring for four Clouded Leopard cubs keeps zookeepers hopping. The tiny cubs require feeding about every three hours, and one feeding session for all four cubs takes about two hours. There is a lot of care, besides giving bottles of formula, which must be done for each cub, Goldfarb pointed out.

Hand raising cubs is routine in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan® program for Clouded Leopards, and produces the best results for their health and well-being, zoo General Curator, Karen Goodrowe Beck said.

Zookeepers ensure the little cats urinate and defecate following their feedings and provide the human touch and connection that will be important as they grow and move into other zoo-based populations.

Clouded Leopards, named for their thundercloud markings, are so shy and elusive; it’s impossible to know how many of these arboreal cats remain in the wild. Fewer than 100 live in accredited North American zoos.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is a recognized global leader in Clouded Leopard conservation. Grants, from the Dr. Holly Reed Conservation Fund, support Clouded Leopard research, education, and anti-poaching work in Southeast Asia. Goldfarb and Goodrowe Beck make periodic trips to Thailand to help keepers at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo with a collaborative breeding project there.

“These cats are precious,” Goldfarb says. “Clouded Leopards are endangered, and there is constant pressure on the species from poaching, habitat loss and other human-animal conflict.”

More adorable pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "Clouded Leopard Quadruplets Born at Point Defiance Zoo" »


Superstar Clouded Leopard Reaches Another Milestone

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‘Mowgli’, the Clouded Leopard cub born March 7th, at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, has reached the “terrible twos” (two-months, that is). Mowgli, named after the main character in The Jungle Book, is already established as a celebrity and has been featured several times on ZooBorns: “Tampa’s Clouded Leopard Kitten Is a Superstar” and “Superstar Clouded Leopard Meets His Fans”.

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4_asia clouded leopard mowgli play 2 may 7 2015Photo Credits: Dave Parkinson/Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

Fans of Mowgli can keep up-to-date on his growth and antics by exploring his web page, through Lowry Park Zoo: http://www.lowryparkzoo.com/leopard/

Now weighing in at 6 pounds with a full set of baby teeth, Mowgli has made the transition from a bottle to a meat-based baby food diet, which he enjoys making into a meal and a mess. His motor skills are progressing as well, and he is running, jumping, pouncing and starting to climb.

While the Zoo’s veterinary professionals will continue to provide round-the-clock care under industry protocols, Mowgli is ready for the next step in his care.

Starting Saturday, May 9th, Mowgli’s outdoor playtime was moved to a temporary enclosure to help keep him safe while he practices all of his new motor skills. The Zoo’s staff will continue to supervise his every move, but will work to scale back on handling, to promote greater independence. The enclosure will also help him make the adjustment to a permanent habitat in the future.

For the near term, public viewing will continue at 11 am, in the new location. A rotation through different environments provides essential sensory enrichment for continued development. Allowing guests to observe the cub at play provides an educational opportunity to communicate the needs and perils of this rare and vulnerable species.

Mowgli’s dad, ‘Yim’ and mom, ‘Malee’, live at the Zoo and are on exhibit in the Asian Gardens habitat area. The male cub is their first offspring.

Continue reading "Superstar Clouded Leopard Reaches Another Milestone" »


Superstar Clouded Leopard Meets His Fans

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A rare Clouded Leopard cub, born March 7 at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, has reached a new step in his development: introduction to the great outdoors (and his adoring fans). He also has a new name: ‘Mowgli’, after the main character in Rudyard Kipling’s famous collection, “The Jungle Book”. ZooBorns has followed his story, since his birth was first announced.

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Asia clouded leopard cub 3 apr 17 2015Photo Credits: Dave Parkinson

The Zoo’s veterinary professionals, who are providing round-the-clock care under industry protocols, have introduced outdoor exercise and playtime into Mowgli’s daily routine. For a limited time, Lowry Park Zoo guests can get an unforgettable glimpse at this rare and precious creature while he explores a grassy area under the watchful eye of the animal care team. Public viewing is at 10 a.m., to coincide with the cub’s morning feeding time (weather permitting and subject to change).

While Mowgli’s primary home is the Zoo’s new veterinary hospital, a rotation through different environments provides essential sensory enrichment for continued development. Interaction and socialization is carefully managed to help build confidence. Allowing guests to observe the cub at play provides an educational opportunity to communicate the needs and perils of this rare and vulnerable species.

When Mowgli is a bit older, the next step in his development will be a transition to supervised independence. He will move into a temporary outdoor enclosure that will help him make the adjustment to a permanent habitat. His future home has not yet been determined.

Mowgli’s dad, ‘Yim’, and mom, ‘Malee’, live at the Zoo and are on exhibit together in the Asian Gardens habitat area. The male cub is their first offspring. Lowry Park Keepers made, what some would consider, a controversial decision by choosing to hand-raise the cub, but it has been demonstrated that hand-rearing this particular species helps facilitate increased socialization among young animals and reduces fatal attacks by aggressive adult males. 

Clouded Leopards are the smallest of the “big cats,” weighing 30- 60 pounds in adulthood and measuring about five feet long (including the long tail). Native to Southeast Asia, Clouded Leopards are found in forests and rainforests. They are known as shy and reclusive cats. 

As a forest-dependent species, the leopard’s native range is undergoing the world's fastest regional deforestation rates. High levels of hunting and poaching also make the species vulnerable to extinction. The Clouded Leopard is listed as “Endangered” under the United States Endangered Species Act, and they are classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.   

For more than a decade, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has been a member of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan, a conservation program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  The Zoo has also supported a conservation research program known as WildAid: Thailand Carnivore Project, a non-invasive study of Thailand’s wild cats including the Clouded Leopard.

More incredible pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "Superstar Clouded Leopard Meets His Fans" »


Two Clouded Leopards Born at Nashville Zoo

Cub with keeper 2015 - Amiee Stubbs

Two Clouded Leopard cubs born at the Nashville Zoo will help build a sustainable population of these vulnerable cats.

The cubs, both female, were born on March 13 and March 18 and are being hand raised together.

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Profile March 2015 - Amiee Stubbs
Single cub March 2015 - Amiee Stubbs
Photo Credit:  Amiee Stubbs

“Nashville Zoo is on the forefront of Clouded Leopard care and conservation,” said Karen Rice, carnivore supervisor. “The birth of these two cubs aids in our conservation efforts and benefits the long-term plan to create a sustainable captive population.”

Clouded Leopards are notoriously reclusive, which makes introducing the cats to potential mates a dangerous proposition.  In fact, male Clouded Leopards have been known to attack and kill potential female partners. To reduce these fatal attacks, Clouded Leopard cubs are hand raised and introduced to their future mates at a young age. Since 2009, 26 Clouded Leopards have been raised at the Nashville Zoo and have gone on to live and reproduce at zoos worldwide.

Clouded Leopards are considered Vulnerable to extinction due to deforestation, poaching and the pet trade. As a founding member of the Thailand Clouded Leopard Consortium, Nashville Zoo works with organizations around the world to improve husbandry, breeding, and genetic diversity for this species. 


Two Clouded Leopard Kittens See the Miami Sun for the First Time

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Zoo Miami is beaming about the birth of two highly endangered Clouded Leopard cubs. Since their birth on March 9th, the female kittens have been bonding with their mother in a quiet, cozy den. They first saw the light of day just two days ago while vets checked their vital signs and photographer Ron Magill snapped these first photos.

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The mother, named “Serai,” was born on May of 2011 at the Smithsonian’s Conservation and Research Center in Virginia and the father, named “Rajasi,” was born in March of 2011 at the Nashville Zoo in Tennessee.   This is the second successful litter for both parents.  Zoo staff was recently able to separate the mother from her cubs for the first time 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 determines they are established and stable enough to face the public.

Learn more about Clouded Leopards below the fold and find many more images of these cubs.

Continue reading "Two Clouded Leopard Kittens See the Miami Sun for the First Time" »


Tampa’s Clouded Leopard Kitten Is a Superstar

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An endangered Clouded Leopard kitten, born March 7 at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, has become a worldwide ambassador for his imperiled species. Images and video of the rare newborn have been shared around the globe.

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Asia panther cub feeding 4 mar 24 2015Photo Credits: Dave Parkinson

Now 3-weeks-old, the kitten has grown from 300 grams at birth to 810 grams today. His eyes are completely open and he is becoming more alert. He has started to crawl (or scoot) along using his front legs, and should be strong enough to move steadily on all four by one month of age. He is very vocal, particularly near feeding time which occurs approximately every four hours.

The Zoo’s veterinary team is providing round-the-clock care for the kitten under the protocol established by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP).  It has been demonstrated that hand-rearing this particular species helps facilitate increased socialization among young animals and reduces fatal attacks by aggressive adult males. 

The kitten’s dad, ‘Yim’, and mom, ‘Malee’, live at the Zoo. Both turn 4-years-old this week and were paired as potential mates at six months of age. The male kitten is their first offspring. He will be hand-reared until weaned at about 3 months of age. At that time the AZA SSP will make a determination about his future home.

Clouded Leopards are the smallest of the “big cats,” weighing 30- 50 pounds in adulthood and measuring about five feet long (including the long tail). Native to Southeast Asia, Clouded Leopards are found in forests and rainforests. They are known as shy and reclusive cats. As a forest-dependent species, the Leopard’s native range is undergoing the world's fastest regional deforestation rates. High levels of hunting and poaching also make the species vulnerable to extinction.    

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has been a member of the Clouded Leopard SSP for more than a decade.  The Zoo has also supported a conservation research program known as WildAid: Thailand Carnivore Project, a non-invasive study of Thailand’s wild cats including the Clouded Leopard.

More adorable pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "Tampa’s Clouded Leopard Kitten Is a Superstar" »