Wishing Our Clouded Leopard Cubs a Safe and Happy Journey!At six months, cubs Chan sung and sister Suksn have set out to meet their mates. Chan sung headed to the Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Kansas, and Suksn to Houston Zoo. It's hoped that when they're old enough, they'll produce new cubs to increase the population and diversity of the Clouded leopard gene pool. They've been favorites of zoo staff and visitors, who've watched with delight as the cubs went from bottle feeding to cavorting in their nursery and then roaming in an outdoor exercise yard.
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Point Defiance Zoo is one of only three zoos in the country that is breeding endangered clouded leopard cubs, along with Nashville Zoo and Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo. This is the second litter of cubs for Chai Li (pronounced Chai-lye) and her mate Nah Fun (pronounced Nah-foon). The clouded leopards gave birth to their first litter, Taji and Sumalee, last June.
Clouded leopards live mostly in the forest of Southeast Asia. But massive clear-cutting to make way for the expansion of palm oil plantations has threatened their populations. Exactly how many clouded leopards exist is unknown because the cats are so difficult to study. With clouded leopards vulnerable to extinction in the wild, this new pair of cubs is very important to the species as a whole.
Point Defiance Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ clouded leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP®), which oversees the clouded leopard populations in zoos worldwide and makes breeding recommendations based on the genetics of each cat. Fewer than 65 clouded leopards live in 24 accredited North American zoos.
The zoo has two other pairs of clouded leopards. Jao Ying and Chee Wit live in the Cats of the Canopy exhibit. Josie and Raja, who produced two cubs at Point Defiance Zoo in 2003, live behind the scenes at the zoo’s Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater.