Endangered Clouded Leopard Cubs Born at National Zoo

March 26, 2009

(ChattahBox) — Two rare and endangered clouded leopard cubs were born at the National Zoo’s Conservation and Research Center (CRC) in Front Royal, Virginia, early in the morning on March 24. Two-and-a-half-year-old clouded leopard Jao Chu is the proud mother of her first litter. She and the cubs’ father, two-and-a-half-year-old Hannibal, were born in Thailand in a collaborative research program with the Zoological Park Organization of Thailand. The cubs’ sex will not be known until the first veterinary exam. This is the first such births there in 16 years.

Zoo officials say breeding the animals is a challenge because when a pair are put together to mate, the male often kills the female. Mothers also often accidentally or intentionally kill their cubs. In this case, the cubs were quickly removed from their mother after birth.

Clouded leopards are native to southeast Asia, but are vulnerable to extinction because of hunting and deforestation. They weigh about a half pound when born and grow to as much as 50 pounds. Their tails account for half of their length. The new cubs will not be on public display.   More photos of the cubs can be found here.


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