Two Handfuls of Clouded Leopard Born at Smithsonian National Zoo
February 21, 2013
On February 6th, two Clouded Leopard cubs were born at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute of Smithsonian National Zoo.
Six days later, the zoo announced that the cubs had opened their eyes and had healthy appetites, drinking milk seven times a day!
Photo Credits: Janice Sveda / Smithsonian National Zoo
Watch caretakers of Smithsonian National Zoo hand-rearing Clouded Leopard cubs born in March 2011. Sita and Ta Moon are the mother and father of this year's newborn cubs as well as the cubs in the video.
Learn more about Clouded Leopards after the fold.
Although Clouded Leopards are shy and easily stressed, the mothers tend not to notice when their babies are removed for hand-rearing. Caretakers at the zoo feed, burp, and lull the cubs to sleep. Still, care is taken to prevent imprinting on humans, which could impede normal social interactions between leopards and increase the challenge of successful breeding in captivity.
Ranging from the Himalayas and Southern China to Malaysia, these shy cats are rarely seen in their natural habit. Relatively little is known about their behavior in the wild, making study of captive-bred Clouded Leopards especially important. Threatened by habitat loss and poaching, Clouded Leopards are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN's Red List of threatened animals. They are regionally extinct in Taiwan, where their pelts have value in religious ceremonies.