Clouded Leopard

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

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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.

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" »


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.

Continue reading "Denver Zoo Welcomes Rare Clouded Leopard Cubs" »


Update! Point Defiance's Clouded Leopard Makes Friends in the Cub Den

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Point Defiance Zoo's Clouded Leopard cub Tien, first announced HERE on Zooborns, has warmed up to Sumatran Tiger cub Kali at the Zoo's Cub Den. Tien was born on May 1st, making him just over two months old. Tien now weighs 7.8 pounds and continues to grow rapidly.

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The Cub Den houses all the zoo's cubs, where keepers can care for them and visitors can get a rare glimpse of the interactions between various endangered species. While Kali lives in the den, keepers have been bringing Tien into the den twice a day for feedings and keeper interactions. Keepers are careful to keep an eye on the two because of their size difference. At 25 pounds, Kali is nearly triple the weight of Tien! Read more about Kali on Zooborns herehere and here.

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Point Defiance Zoo is one of only three zoos in the US that breeds these Endangered cats. Native to Southeast Asia, the Clouded Leopard's habitats are threatened by the expansion of palm oil plantations. Point Defiance Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP®), which oversees the clouded leopard populations in zoos worldwide and makes breeding recommendations based on the genetics of each cat. 

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Photo Credit Point Defiance Zoo


It's Two More Baby Clouded Leopards for Nashville Zoo

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Just six weeks after the birth of a trio of Clouded Leopard cubs reported HERE on ZooBorns, the Nashville Zoo proudly announced that another two cubs were born on April 30! The babies are doing well and are being hand raised by the Zoo’s animal care staff. 

“Since 2009, 20 Leopards have been born at Nashville Zoo, and in the last year alone, Nashville Zoo welcomed the births of more Clouded Leopards than at all the world’s zoos combined,” said Rick Schwartz, Nashville Zoo President. “We are proud to be on the forefront of Clouded Leopard conservation.”

Due to deforestation, pet trade and poaching, Clouded Leopards are considered endangered in their native range of Southeast Asia and China, and recently listed as extinct in Taiwan. For the past 11 years, Nashville Zoo has been a member of the Thailand Clouded Leopard Consortium, a multi-faceted clouded leopard conservation program with the National Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo, Clouded Leopard Species Survival Program and Zoological Park Organization in Thailand. 

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Photo Credit: Amiee Stubbs

The breeding parents to these recent cubs are Lom Choy and Luk. Introducing Clouded Leopards to potential mates is difficult due to the cat’s reclusive disposition. Males are often aggressive and have been known to attack and kill potential female partners. To reduce fatal attacks, cubs are hand-raised and introduced to mates at a young age.