Meet the cubs!
Four rare clouded leopard cubs were born May 12, 2015. They are the fourth litter born to Chai Li (chai-lye) and her mate Nah Fun (nah-foon).
"They are eating and gaining weight," said staff biologist Andy Goldfarb. "All four are active and moving around well."
The cubs are not yet on exhibit. Stay tuned for updates on when you'll be able to see them and how they will be named.
Clouded leopards, named for their thundercloud markings, are so shy and elusive that scientists don't have an accurate estimate of their wild population. Fewer than 100 live in accredited North American zoos.
Caring for clouded leopard cubs keeps zookeepers busy - the tiny cubs require feeding about every three hours.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is a recognized global leader in Clouded leopard conservation. Grants from the Dr. Holly Reed Conservation Fund support clouded leopard research, education and anti-poaching work in Southeast Asia.
Zoo staff make periodic trips to Thailand to help keepers at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo with a collaborative breeding project there.
"These cats are precious,” Goldfarb says. “Clouded leopards are endangered, and there is constant pressure on the species from poaching, habitat loss and other human-animal conflict.”
Did you know?
- Clouded leopards are among the best climbers in the cat family and can hang from branches with their hind feet!
- Their large paws provide a great grip on tree branches, and a long tail (up to 3 feet long) helps them balance.
- They can open their mouths wider than most other cats and have extremely long canine teeth. For this reason they are sometimes called the "modern day saber-toothed cat."
- Clouded leopards live in tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia, from Nepal and southern China through Thailand, Indonesia, and Borneo.