Clouded Leopard

Clouded-leopard Cub Pounce N’ Play

Watch Rakhan play and pounce around in one of his outdoor exercise yards with his Point Defiance Zoo care team. The growing clouded leopard cub will explore the Cats of the Canopy habitat once he gets a little older and becomes more confident in climbing.

In Case You Missed It, find his ZooBorns Debut here:

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Clouded Leopard Zoomies!

A four-month-old clouded leopard cub named Rakhan (pronounced Rah-kaan) recently arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The cub joins the zoo on a breeding recommendation through the Species Survival Plan®.

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“Clouded leopards are highly endangered, and cubs like Rakhan help keep zoo populations healthy and genetically diverse,” said Telena Welsh, the zoo’s curator of Asian animals. “Breeding clouded leopards in zoos is a crucial way to keep this species from being completely wiped out.”

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OKC Zoo Announces Birth Of Rare Clouded Leopard Kitten

This significant birth contributes to the conservation of this vulnerable species.

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden announces the birth of a rare clouded leopard kitten. Following approximately a 90-day gestation period, the OKC Zoo’s two-year-old female clouded leopard, Rukai, gave birth to a female kitten on Friday, August 6, 2021, at the Zoo’s Cat Forest habitat. This is the first successful birth of an offspring for Rukai and her mate two-year-old male, JD.

Because this is such a significant birth, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for clouded leopards recommended the Zoo’s animal care experts hand-rear the kitten to ensure she thrives. Immediately following the kitten’s birth, the Zoo’s carnivore caretakers stepped in and began caring for this little cloudie. She was moved to a climate-controlled incubator to help regulate her body temperature and caretakers started round-the-clock bottle feedings of a specialty felid formula and continuous monitoring. Caretakers report the kitten is healthy and doing everything a newborn should be doing – eating, sleeping and growing! Additionally, her eyes are now fully open. Clouded leopards are born with their eyes closed and begin to open them at two weeks of age.

 “The kitten appears very strong and healthy, and we are thrilled by the progress she’s making,” said Tyler Boyd, OKC Zoo’s curator of carnivores. “For myself and entire team, the opportunity to care for this offspring, who is incredibly valuable to the conservation of this critically vulnerable species, is a career highlight.”

Clouded leopard parents, Rukai and JD, arrived at the OKC Zoo in December 2019, after being paired together as part of a breeding recommendation through the clouded leopard SSP and the hope is they will continue to breed and their offspring, including this kitten, will contribute to the growth of a genetically diverse population.

The mission of an AZA cooperatively managed SSP Program is to oversee the population management of select species, including the clouded leopard, within AZA member institutions like the OKC Zoo and to enhance conservation of this species in the wild. Each SSP Program coordinates the individual activities of participating member institutions through a variety of species conservation, research, husbandry, management and educational initiatives.

Native to Nepal and Bangladesh, clouded leopards are the smallest of the big cat species. Adult clouded leopards weigh between 30 and 50 pounds and are about five feet long, with approximately half that length being their tail. They are the world’s strongest climbing cats, which gives them an advantage over the other big cats sharing their territory. The species is listed by the IUCN as vulnerable to extinction due to deforestation, poaching and the pet trade. Clouded leopards are protected in most range countries although enforcement in many areas is weak. Precise data on clouded leopard population numbers is not known (they are among the most elusive cat species) but researchers estimate there are around 10,000 clouded leopards in the wild.

As part of the clouded leopard SSP, this kitten will eventually relocate to another AZA-accredited organization to be paired with a mate. This is an important part of the breeding process and making this introduction at an early age is necessary as clouded leopards are often bonded for life. While being cared for at the Zoo, the kitten will remain off public view but we will share updates about her on social media.

Now in its summer hours, the Oklahoma City Zoo is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. Purchase advance tickets at  www.okczoo.org/tickets and avoid the entry lines. A summer deal just for you, the Zoo is offering free general admission for guests, weekday afternoons, August 16–20. Advance reservations are required at www.okczoo.org/tickets for all guests and ZOOfriends members wanting to visit, capacity is limited to six people per reservation.

Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Stay connected with the Zoo on FacebookTwitterInstagramTikTokLinktree and by visiting our blog stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a ZOOfriends member. Starting at $45, memberships can be purchased at ZOOfriends.org and provide access to the OKC Zoo for an entire year plus, additional benefits and discounts. To learn more about Zoo happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.


Clouded Leopard Birth Includes Two Much-Needed Males

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce that a Clouded Leopard named River gave birth to three cubs, two males and one female, on April 29. 

Nashville Zoo is part of the Clouded Leopard Consortium and also part of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan® in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The species is under threat in its native habitat.

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47798037611_c5de765218_kPhoto Credit: Dr. Margarita Woc Colburn

“These three cubs are important because they will go on to pair with other Clouded Leopards and increase this species' captive population," said Dr. Heather Robertson, Nashville Zoo Director of Veterinary Services. “The two males are particularly important because there were no males born at AZA facilities last year, which means there were few, if any, cub pairings."

Clouded Leopards are paired with unrelated mates born at other zoos within the first year so the couple will grow up together. This process lowers aggression from the males and increases the chance of successful mating and birth in the future.

After the care team noticed that three-year-old River appeared to be neglecting her cubs, the veterinary team removed the cubs to hand rear. Clouded Leopard cubs are often hand-reared in zoos because females often neglect their offspring. Hand rearing also lowers stress for future hands-on care and helps with introductions to mates in the future.

The cubs will stay at Nashville Zoo for now with plans to eventually introduce them to a potential mate at another zoo.

The cubs weigh between 220-265 grams each. With the addition of these cubs, the Zoo is now home to 13 Clouded Leopards. Nashville Zoo has been working with these cats since 1992 and has welcomed 38 cubs since 2009. There are currently 74 Clouded Leopards in the AZA facilities and 295 in accredited facilities globally.  

Dr. Robertson is the nationwide vet advisor for this species. Much of the information known about this species is because of the collaboration between Nashville Zoo, Smithsonian's National Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand and The Zoological Parks Organization of Thailand. 

Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Though they are protected by law in most range countries, enforcement of these laws is weak in many places. Precise data on Clouded Leopard population numbers in the wild is not known. The reduced number of pelts encountered at markets and reduced sightings of Clouded Leopards by people within its range suggest the species is in decline.


Clouded Leopard Cubs Make History at Nashville Zoo

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The first Clouded Leopard to be born from artificial insemination using frozen/thawed semen has given birth to two cubs at the Nashville Zoo.

The two-year-old female, Niran, gave birth with no complications. “We’ve really made history with Niran,” said Dr. Heather Robertson, Nashville Zoo Director of Veterinary Services.

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47434272392_4bbf2d317c_kPhoto Credit: Nashville Zoo

The newest cubs weigh about 187 and 192 grams each. After two-year-old Niran gave birth, the zoo's veterinary team removed the cubs to hand rear. The veterinary staff typically hand raises Clouded Leopard cubs because the mothers often neglect their offspring. Hand rearing also lowers animal stress for future hands-on care.

With the addition of these cubs, the zoo is now home to eight Clouded Leopards.

Nashville Zoo has been working with these cats since 1987 and has welcomed 34 cubs since 2009. There are currently 69 Clouded Leopards in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ care and 292 in facilities globally. 

Niran and one-year-old Ron, the father, are living behind the scenes, and the cubs will be placed in the HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center neonatal animal care room within a week. The cubs will stay at Nashville Zoo for now with plans to eventually introduce them to a potential mate at another zoo.

Nashville Zoo is part of the Clouded Leopard Consortium and also part of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan®. Dr. Robertson is the nationwide vet advisor for this species. Much of the information known about this species is because of the collaboration between Nashville Zoo, Smithsonian's National Zoo, Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand and The Zoological Parks Organization of Thailand.

Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  They are protected in much of their range, which spans from the Himalayan foothills to Southeast Asia, but enforcement of those protections is weak. Precise data on Clouded Leopard population numbers in the wild is not known. The reduced number of pelts encountered at markets and reduced sightings of Clouded Leopards by people within its range suggest the species is in decline.

See more photos of Niran's cubs below.

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Naples Zoo Celebrates Birth of Clouded Leopard Sisters

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Naples Zoo is celebrating the birth of two endangered Clouded Leopard kittens. First time mother, Tika, gave birth to kitten one at 7:49 am Friday, February 22, and kitten two arrived at 8:32 am. Both kittens are female. The first-born kitten weighed 262 grams, and kitten two weighed 244 grams.

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4_Naples Zoo_Clouded Leopard_kitten one 3Photo Credits: Naples Zoo

Clouded Leopard kittens are born with their eyes and ears closed. They typically open within 10 to 14 days. The kittens are being bottle-fed and will be hand-reared by Naples Zoo's animal care staff. This has proven to be the best practice for the species and has generated the best results in terms of the health and well being of Clouded Leopard kittens. The kittens are not yet named, but the Zoo will announce their names soon. Currently, the kittens are not on exhibit at the Zoo.

Clouded Leopards are listed as “Endangered” by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, under the United States Endangered Species Act. They are classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. The species is under significant pressure in the wild from human 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.

The Clouded Leopard parents, Tika and Masala, arrived at Naples Zoo in September of 2016 from two different facilities to contribute to the future of their species. The pair was specifically matched by the Species Survival Plan(r) (SSP) based on their ancestry, in an effort to create the greatest genetic diversity in the population over the next century. Naples Zoo is pleased to be a part of this critical program to sustain the Clouded Leopard population in Zoos.

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Tiny Clouded Leopard Cub Born at Nashville Zoo

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a female Clouded Leopard on Monday, February 19.

This is the sixth litter for eight-year-old mother Lom Choy and father Luk. The couple has been paired for mating since age one, and they had their first litter in 2011. Their newest cub weighed 188 grams (about six ounces) at birth. With the addition of this cub, the Zoo is home to nine Clouded Leopards. Nashville Zoo has had 32 Clouded Leopard births since 2009. There are currently 61 Clouded Leopards in accredited North American zoos and 274 under human care globally.

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27073664508_7ab02128aa_oPhoto Credits: Amiee Stubbs (1,2,4,5); Melinda Kommavongsa (3)

Lom Choy delivered three cubs on February 19 and within the days following, keepers observed that two of the cubs were victims of parental predation, a common occurrance in Clouded Leopards.  The third cub was immediately removed for hand rearing.

Because Clouded Leopards are normally shy and secretive, hand-rearing allows the animals to become better acclimated to a zoo environment. “Cubs that are hand reared are known to allow for easier keeper interaction, and [the hand-rearing process] reduces stress in the animal,” explained Dr. Heather Robertson, DVM. 

Nashville Zoo is a member of the Clouded Leopard Consortium and is part of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan®, a program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Robertson is the nationwide Vet Advisor for this species and Nashville Zoo spearheads conservation efforts for this species in partnership with the Smithsonian National Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium at Khao Kheow breeding facility in Thailand.

Clouded Leopards are native to the Himalayan foothills of Southeast Asia and China. The species is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is protected in most range countries, although enforcement in many areas is weak. Precise data on wild Clouded Leopard populations is not known, though some conservationists estimate that the total adult population is fewer than 10,000 individuals. The reduced number of pelts encountered at markets and fewer sightings of Clouded Leopards within their range suggest the species is in decline.

 


Clouded Leopard Cubs Climb to New Heights

21231255_1427079080661866_5978684021896106567_nToronto Zoo’s four-month-old Clouded Leopard cubs are transitioning to a new play space and zoo guests can now see the sisters during limited times on most days.

Their new den has climbing logs positioned just right for the growing cubs to develop their skills.  Right now, the logs are low (at “toddler” level) but they can be repositioned for more challenging exercise as the cubs grow. Clouded Leopards are extremely agile and can even climb on the underside of tree branches, as one of the cubs demonstrates in the photos.

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Born May 13, the cubs were first introduced to ZooBorns readers here. They’ve been under human care ever since they were a few days old because their mother did not care for them properly. By the time the two female cubs were two months old, they were thriving, as reported on ZooBorns.

Keepers report that one of the cubs is more adventurous than her sister and is often the first to dive in to new experiences. They often play wrestle together and seem to enjoy ripping apart banana leaves.

Each cub weighs about eight pounds, and they now eat solid foods – nearly a pound per day each!

Clouded Leopards live in the Himalayan foothills of Southeast Asia, where their numbers are decreasing. About 10,000 Clouded Leopards remain in the wild, but the population is fragmented into groups no larger than 1,000 animals. The forested areas are not large enough to sustain the populations in the long term. Clouded Leopards are poached for the commercial wildlife trade, and body parts are sold on the black market for traditional Asian medicines, which are proven to have no actual health benefits. Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.

See more photos below.

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UPDATE: Toronto Zoo’s Clouded Leopard Cubs Growing

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The Clouded Leopard cubs at Toronto Zoo are growing! ZooBorns introduced readers to the pair when they were almost one-month-old: “Clouded Leopard Cubs a First for Toronto Zoo”.

The two-month old cubs were born May 13 to mom, Pavarti, and dad, Mingma. Toronto Zoo staff recently reported that the siblings are progressing and growing stronger. The cubs are now very close in size and currently weigh about 1.78 kgs (3.9 lbs) and 1.81 kgs (4 lbs), respectively.

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4_20247650_1391123080924133_231200329107239544_oPhoto Credits: Toronto Zoo 

Pavarti is a first time mom. Immediately after the cubs’ birth, she showed signs of having all the necessary maternal instincts. However, as the first day progressed, staff observed that she started spending less time with her cubs and was not seen nursing or mothering them. Toronto Zoo’s Wildlife Care staff continued to monitor the new family by camera, and a veterinarian checked the cubs the day after they were born. The veterinarian provided the cubs with supplemental fluids to help them through the critical first 24 hours. Wildlife Care staff and the vet continued to monitor the cubs, hoping for a change in the new mom’s behavior toward her cubs. Finally, a decision was made to move the cubs to the intensive care unit (ICU) in the new state-of-art Wildlife Health Centre to provide them with the neonatal care they required and give them the best chance at survival.

Both cubs are currently fed a diet that includes formula (consisting of Esbilac and chicken baby food) and feline meat offered to them separately. As they continue to grow in size, they are beginning to transition from being fed from a bottle to eating out of a dish. Right now the cubs are fed four times a day by Wildlife Health and Wildlife Care staff and have been living in the new Wildlife Health Centre’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

This is an exciting time for Wildlife Health Care staff and Wildlife Care staff as they begin to see the Clouded Leopard cub’s different personalities. One cub is slightly darker in color, and is more energetic and ‘sassy’, always taking the bottle very quickly when offered. The second cub is slightly lighter in color, and although also energetic, is not as bold as its sibling.

Both cubs are said to vocalize in a bird-like ‘chirping’ sound and love to leap, run, explore and climb anything and everything they can find. Wrestling with each other is another favorite thing for these siblings to do. Both Clouded Leopard cubs have very long tails, and their teeth are getting to be quite big in size, which is bringing out their teething behaviors.

The Toronto Zoo is a participant in the Clouded Leopard conservation breeding program through the Species Survival Plan (SSP) program. The Clouded Leopard has been listed as “Vulnerable”, on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, since 2008.

*Please note: the Clouded Leopard cubs are not visible to the public at this time.

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Clouded Leopard Cubs a First for Toronto Zoo

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For the first time in the Toronto Zoo’s history, two Clouded Leopard cubs were born on the afternoon of Saturday, May 13 to mom Pavarti and dad Mingma.

Pavarti is a first-time mother and she initially showed maternal instincts. However, Pavarti started spending less time with her cubs and was not observed nursing or mothering them. Wildlife Care staff monitored the new family by camera throughout the night and the cubs were checked by a veterinarian on Sunday. Fluids were given to the cubs to help them through the critical first 24 hours.

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Photo Credit: Toronto Zoo

Wildlife Care staff and the vet continued to monitor the tiny cubs and on Monday morning, they decided to move the cubs to the intensive care unit (ICU) in the zoo’s new state-of-art Wildlife Health Centre. After receiving neonatal care, the cubs’ health stabilized.

Fortunately, when they discovered Pavarti was pregnant the zoo developed a Clouded Leopard hand-rearing protocol just in case Pavarti failed to care for her cubs. The protocol is based on best practices shared by other zoos with experience hand-rearing these cats.

The two cubs are thriving under their keepers’ care.  They have gone from weighing around six ounces each at birth to nearly 14 ounces each at about three weeks of age. The two cubs have fully opened their eyes, have discovered their 'meow,’ and are even starting to walk. 

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