Clouded Leopard

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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Two Clouded Leopards Born at Nashville Zoo

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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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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.

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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" »


Denver Zoo's Clouded Leopard Cubs Socialize

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Denver Zoo’s three Clouded Leopard cubs, Pi, Rhu and Saya, are getting to know each other during supervised introductions. Saya, a female born on April 10, arrived May 17th from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI). Zookeepers let the three of them play together behind the scenes two or three times a day to socialize to make sure they engage with each other. Saya still won’t meet the public for a few weeks as she needs to grow a little bigger to spend time alone with her new friends in Denver Zoo's Toyota Elephant Passage. You can learn more about her journey at http://bit.ly/1krrhXG.

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Saya, below, upon arriving at Denver Zoo in May...

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Denver's Clouded Leopard Cubs Ready to Meet the Public

Clouded_leopard_cubs_on_exhbit03Two Clouded Leopard cubs born on March 14 are now ready to meet the public at the Denver Zoo.  The male and female cubs, named Pi and Rhu, were not properly cared for by their mother so they are being raised by staff around the clock.

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Clouded_leopard_cubs_on_exhbit02Photo Credit:  Denver Zoo


The cubs began their lives in an incubator, but have graduated to a “whelping box.” The large enclosure provides a safe place for the cubs to learn to walk, crawl, wrestle, and play until they have grown enough to have full access to the Clouded Leopard exhibit.

Because they were born on March 14, Pi was named after Pi Day, the date observed to celebrate the mathematical constant, Pi. The date is also Albert Einstein’s birthday. Rhu was named after Einstein’s favorite dessert, rhubarb pie.

The cubs are the first births for their mother Lisu and father Taji. The two were paired under recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. Fortunately, the couple has proved to be an excellent match.

As Lisu was unable to take care of her cubs very early on, the cubs never developed a strong bond with their mother, nor she with them. Because it is important for these cubs to be exposed to adult Clouded Leopards, zoo keepers will move them to the Clouded Leopard building once it is deemed safe to do so. Their parents probably won’t recognize them as their offspring, but the cubs can develop some valuable behavioral information by seeing adult Clouded Leopards interact and vocalize.

Despite their name, Clouded Leopards are not actually a species of Leopard. Because they are so unique, they are placed in their own genus, Neofelis, which is a combination of Greek and Latin words meaning “new cat.” They are considered a “bridge” between typical big cats, like Lions and Tigers, and the small cats, like Pumas, Lynx and Ocelots. Their body lengths can range from about two to almost four feet long and they can weigh between 24 and 50 pounds. Their tawny coats with distinctive “cloud-shaped” dark blotches provide excellent camouflage in their forest habitat, enabling them to stalk prey and also hide from potential predators.

Clouded Leopards are well adapted for living in the trees. Their short, flexible legs, large feet and sharp, retractable claws make them adept in the trees. They can descend head first down tree trunks, move along branches while hanging upside down and even hang from branches using only their hind feet, enabling them to drop down and ambush prey on the ground. Their long tails provides balance as they leap from branch to branch. Their arboreal lifestyle also provides protection from larger predators like tigers and leopards.

They are found in Southeast Asia in southern China, parts of Nepal, India, Burma, Sumatra and Borneo and live primarily in tropical and subtropical evergreen forests up to 6500 feet above sea level.

There are no reliable estimates for Clouded Leopard populations in the wild, but their numbers are thought to be in decline and the International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies them as “vulnerable.” Clouded Leopards are endangered primarily due to habitat loss due to deforestation for agriculture. They are also hunted for their beautiful pelts and their bones, claws and teeth are used in traditional Asian medicine.


Denver Zoo Welcomes Rare Clouded Leopard Cubs

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Denver Zoo is celebrating the birth of two Clouded Leopard cubs, born March 14. They are the first births of their species at the zoo. The unnamed cubs, a male and a female, are doing well now after zookeepers began steps to hand-raise them. Their mother, Lisu (LEE-soo), gave birth to the cubs in a private birthing stall inside Toyota Elephant Passage, but did not then tend to them. Zookeepers believe this is because first-time mother Lisu was hand-raised herself and lacks the experience to rear her own cubs. After a few hours, zookeepers moved the cubs to another building and began a protocol to provide food and medicine every three hours for the time being. The cubs will remain behind the scenes until they grow older.

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Leopard 2Photo credit: Denver Zoo

The cubs are not only the first births for Lisu, but her mate, Taji (TAH-jee), as well. Lisu was born at Nashville Zoo in March 2011 and came to Denver Zoo that following November. Taji was born at Tacoma, Washington’s Point Defiance Zoo in June 2011 and also arrived that November. The two were paired under recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) which ensures healthy populations and genetic diversity among zoo animals. Fortunately, the couple has proved to be an excellent match.

Despite their name, Clouded Leopards are not actually a species of leopard. Because they are so unique they are placed in their own genus, Neofelis, which is a combination of Greek and Latin words meaning "new cat." They are considered a 'bridge' between typical big cats, like lions and tigers, and the small cats, like pumas, lynx and ocelots. Their body lengths can range from about two to almost four feet long and they can weigh between 24 and 50 pounds. Their tawny coats with distinctive cloud-shaped dark blotches provide excellent camouflage in their forest habitat, enabling them to stalk prey and also hide from potential predators.

Read more after the fold.

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