During the past week a quartet of clouded leopard cubs were born at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Currently they are being provided round the clock care by keepers.
Clouded leopards are incredibly rare in both zoos and the wild. Even rarer is to see a birth of four cubs in one litter. Just two dozen zoos in North America are breeding the highly elusive clouded leopard.
“These cats are very rare,” Karen Goodrowe Beck, general curator at the zoo said. “We are thrilled by the birth of this litter. We hope visitors to the zoo will connect with them and be inspired to take action to help save their species in the wild.”
For mother Chai Li this her third litter. In the past she has had one litter of two cubs and one of one. The cubs were fathered by Nah Fun.
Staff at the zoo with extensive experience in the care of clouded leopards will be bottle-feeding the cubs. This has been proven to produce the best results in terms of health and well-being of clouded leopard cubs.
These cats are measured as part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan. This plan manages the cats to ensure that the population is healthy.
At this point the cubs have not been named. Towards the end of this month that will be announced along with when people can see them.
The zoo is supporting the non-profit Clouded Leopard Project which was founded by keepers from Tacoma (where the zoo is located) 15 years ago. They fundraise to support conservation work throughout Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia.
Photo Credits: Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium