Currently the cubs are being hand reared by staff. Their public appearances line up with their three daily feed times.
Two weeks ago the cubs were introduced to their adoring public when pictures and video of them were sent around the world by the zoo. This has allowed the conservation message about this species, which is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and continues to decline, to go global.
The zoo is hoping that this will increase awareness of this elusive cat which is so difficult to track in the wild that is currently unknown how many remain in the wild. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is leading the charge to answer this question. In their South East Asian home this species is definitely declining though as a result of poaching and destruction of their habitat.
Chai Li is the mother of these cubs and Nah Fun is the father. This pair is on exhibit in the zoos Cats of the Canopy exhibit while the cubs are visible in the cub den during feeding time.
Along with the cubs there are now eleven clouded leopards which call the zoo home.
25 North American zoos are home to the 93 clouded leopards which are part of the breeding program. This year 15 cubs have been born across North America.
This litter marks the fourth time that Chai Li and Nah Fun have bred. They form part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) which manages the breeding of clouded leopards so that the population remains genetically stable.
Chai Li looked after the cubs for a just over a day before it became apparent that she was no longer going to feed them. This led keepers to pull them for hand-rearing. Now they are feed every four hours by keepers.
Port Defiance Zoo and Aquarium support conservation and education work in South East Asia. If you would like to support this work you can go here – Port Defiance Zoo and Aquarium | Donate.
Photo Credits: Port Defiance Zoo and Aquarium