Recently, a keeper from Cotswold Wildlife Park, in the UK, became foster parent to an abandoned Clouded Leopard Cub.
The young female cub was found, at one-day-old, shivering and close to death. Jamie Craig, a zookeeper at Cotswold Wildlife Park, decided to care for the orphan at his home. With the help of his young children, Mr. Craig diligently tended to the cub, named Nimbus.
In order to avoid any interruption from his family dogs, he decided the safest place for Nimbus was in an upstairs bathroom. "We wanted to keep her warm and somewhere secure, and the bathroom was as good a place as any," he said. "She could be messy with the milk and what comes out the other end, so we thought something with a wipe-clean floor was definitely needed."
After six weeks of care and nurturing at Mr. Craig’s house, Nimbus is now back at the park, in her own area. She is currently too young and small to be placed with older leopards, but, when the time is right, keepers anticipate she will be living with other Clouded Leopards in the park.
According to the Clouded Leopard Project, a conservation and research organization, females are often poor mothers in zoo settings and may abandon their cubs shortly after giving birth. Unfortunately, in some cases, the mother may show aggression toward the cubs and harm them. Some zoos make the decision to hand-rear Clouded Leopard cubs, in an effort to protect the newborns from any potential harm.
The Clouded Leopard is native to the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China. They are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. One of the main threats they face, in the wild, is being hunted for illegal wildlife trade. Currently, there is an indigenous market for their skins, bones, meat, and live animal pet trade. The Clouded Leopard is also threatened by habitat loss. They prefer forested areas, and many parts of Southeast Asia are undergoing rapid deforestation.