Oklahoma City Zoo Welcome Clouded Leopard Kitten

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: August 24, 2021 1:59 am

Oklahoma City Zoo Clouded Leopard Cub

A clouded leopard kitten born on Friday August 6th 2021 at the Oklahoma City Zoo is bottle fed by a zookeeper

Photo Credit: Oklahoma City Zoo

The Oklahoma City Zoo welcomed a clouded leopard kitten on Friday August 6th 2021. Mother Rukai gave birth to the female kitten after a 90 day gestation period. This is the first offspring for Rukai and mate JD.

As a significant birth for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for clouded leopards it was recommended that the kitten be hand-reared.

The zoo’s carnivore team stepped in and are caring for the kitten in a climate controlled incubator which helps to regulate her temperature. She is provided round the clock bottle feedings with a specialty food for carnivores.

Since her birth the kitten has been doing everything a newborn should do says keepers. This includes eating, sleeping and growing.

“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.”

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Ruaki and JD, the parents of the kitten were paired through a breeding recommendation by the clouded leopard SSP. They were brought to Oklahoma during 2019. They will be paired again with the hope they will continue to grow the genetically diverse population.

The SSP is a cooperative program with members of the AZA working together to enhance the conservation of the species. Members of the program coordinate their activities on species conservation, research, husbandry, management and educational initiatives.

In the future the clouded leopard SSP will recommend another AZA-accredited organization where the kitten will move and be paired with a mate. This is completed at an early age to ensure the pair bond for life.

Clouded leopards are a native of Bangladesh and Nepal. They are among the world’s smallest big cat species. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list the species as vulnerable due to deforestation, poaching and the pet trade. They are provided protection in most range countries.

Oklahoma City Zoo Clouded Leopard Cub

Tyler Boyd, OKC Zoo’s Curator of Carnivores feeds the clouded leopard kitten born on August 6th 2021 with a bottle of milk

Photo Credit: Oklahoma City Zoo

Learn more about Clouded Leopards here – Clouded Leopard Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Oklahoma City Zoo on their website – Oklahoma City Zoo

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