Cat

THREE Canada Lynx Cubs Debut at the Queens Zoo

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There is new activity afoot in the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) habitat at the Queens Zoo as three cubs have made their public debut.

The cubs, one male and two females, were born in May while the zoo was temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, they bonded with their mother and are now mature enough to begin exploring their exhibit.

 

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Julie Larsen Maher_4861_Canada Lynx and Kittens_QZ_09 02 20
Julie Larsen Maher_4861_Canada Lynx and Kittens_QZ_09 02 20
Julie Larsen Maher_4861_Canada Lynx and Kittens_QZ_09 02 20
Julie Larsen Maher_4861_Canada Lynx and Kittens_QZ_09 02 20
Julie Larsen Maher_4861_Canada Lynx and Kittens_QZ_09 02 20
Julie Larsen Maher_4861_Canada Lynx and Kittens_QZ_09 02 20

“Lynx cubs are really fun to watch at this age. Their characteristically large paws look enormous in comparison to their size,” said Mike Allen, Queens Zoo Director. “Their playful stalking and pouncing is how they learn to hunt in the wild. Our guests will enjoy watching their development and the opportunity to observe these behaviors as the cubs mature.”

The trio was born as a result of a breeding recommendation from the Canada Lynx Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program designed to enhance the genetic viability of animal populations in zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

Canada lynx are medium-sized cats that have a thick grayish-brown coat and short tail. They are easily identified by the pointed tufts of fur on their ears and cheeks. Their oversized paws act as snowshoes to prevent them from sinking in deep snow during the harsh winters of their native range, which spans Alaska, Canada, and portions of the northern and western United States.

Canada lynx populations are healthy in some portions of their range, and the species is classified as Least Concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In the United States, they are protected under the Endangered Species Act where their numbers have declined due to fur trapping and habitat destruction.

The Queens Zoo, along with the other four Wildlife Conservation Society parks in New York City (Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and New York Aquarium), has reopened to the public and is welcoming visitors in accordance with the COVID-19 safety guidelines issued by the State of New York. All guests over 3 years old are required to wear masks and all tickets are date-specific and must be purchased in advance online. For a full list of COVID-19 protocols, visit the zoo’s Know Before You Go page.

The Wildlife Conservation Societys Queens Zoo – Open every day of the year. Admission is $9.95 for adults, $7.95 for seniors 65 and older, $6.95 for kids 3-12, free for children under 3. Zoo hours are 10am to 5pm weekdays, and 10am – 5:30pm weekends, April through October, and 10am – 4:30pm daily, November through April. The Queens Zoo is located at 53-51 111th Street in Flushing Meadow’s Corona Park in Queens. For further information, call 718-271-1500 or visit www.queenszoo.com.

 WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.


TRIPLE THE JOY! Dallas Zoo Welcomes Three African Lion Cubs

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The Dallas Zoo is celebrating the birth of three adorable African lion cubs – one male and two females – born on August 17 to Bahati and Kijani. This is the first time since 1974 that the Zoo has welcomed a litter of multiple lion cubs.

The Zoo’s carnivore zoologists researched names for each cub that perfectly match their personalities and unique circumstances. The first cub, a male, will be called Izwi (IS-we), which means “vocal” in the Shona language of Zimbabwe. Izwi came into this world with a strong personality and a lot to say! The second cub, a female, has been named Ilola (ee-LOH-la), meaning “to become strong” in the Sesotho language of South Africa. Ilola has overcome significant challenges to become strong, including weeks of physical therapy to correct developmental issues in her legs. Bahati’s third cub, also female, will be called Tadala (ta-DAH-la), which means “we have been blessed” in the southeast-African Chewa language. During Bahati’s initial ultrasounds, it was clear that two cubs were developing. During the birth, the Zoo was thrilled to find three cubs instead.

 

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“We are overjoyed to see Bahati, who was our first lion cub in 43 years, become a mother and play a crucial role in protecting her species from extinction,” said Gregg Hudson, the Dallas Zoo’s President & CEO. “These three cubs are the embodiment of resiliency, strength, and hope, which we hope can be a bright spot in our community right now.”

The Zoo’s three-year-old female lion, Bahati, delivered the three cubs via Caesarian section. Bahati was closely monitored as she went into labor, and the Zoo’s veterinary staff made the critical decision to intervene after natural labor failed to progress in a timely manner and created an unsafe situation for the cubs.

“The cubs were not positioned correctly in Bahati’s birth canal, meaning that a natural birth would likely have had a negative impact on her health as well as the cubs’,” said Harrison Edell, the Zoo’s Executive Vice President of Animal Care and Conservation. “Thanks to our veterinarians’ thorough preparation and decisive decision-making from our animal management team, all three cubs arrived without incident and are able to thrive under the close watch of our team and, of course, mom Bahati.”

Bahati remains behind the scenes with her cubs as she recovers from the C-section surgery. She exhibited curiosity early on, and even while she was resting in a different area than the cubs, she positioned herself so she could see them. The Zoo’s veterinary staff monitored and hand fed all three cubs until Bahati was ready for a reintroduction to her little ones. Bahati’s aunt, Jasiri, joined mother and cubs, modeling appropriate behaviors for Bahati and taking an active social role, just as lions would in a wild pride.

Even still, the challenges were far from over for Ilola, one of the female cubs who was born weighing less than her siblings and who had some developmental challenges.

“Developmentally, this cub found it difficult to walk, and she also had trouble maintaining her glucose level, which is vital to support healthy growth,” said Edell. “Our expert veterinary staff kept a watchful eye on her and immediately devised a plan, beginning physical therapy to help her walk correctly.”

Ilola responded well to the initial physical therapy and has made amazing strides to correct her gait. At this point, all three cubs are eating well, gaining weight, and spending time with mom.

Bahati and her cubs will remain behind the scenes in their den for another 4-6 weeks before making their official public debut. The cubs will be gradually introduced to the rest of the pride, including their grandmother Lina, as well as their father Kijani. The Zoo will share updates and the date of the cubs’ debut on its social media channels.

Three-year-old Kijani came to the Dallas Zoo in March of 2020 to breed with Bahati on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP aims to maintain a sustainable and healthy lion population, ensuring genetic diversity of animals in AZA institutions. The pair bonded quickly and soon began exhibiting breeding behaviors. Zoo staff suspected the pregnancy in April, which was later confirmed by ultrasound in June.

African lions are native to Sub-Saharan Africa, where they roam the savanna and open grasslands. Their numbers have dwindled by 50% in the last 25 years, and the species faces ongoing threats from poaching, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict. The Dallas Zoo is proud to support a healthy African lion population in human care through our work with the AZA’s Lion Species Survival Plan as a safeguard against extinction. These animals serve as critical ambassadors for their wild counterparts.


Baby Boom at Nashville Zoo!

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Nashville Zoo Has has quite a summer! Learn all about the new babies arriving there over the last few months and weeks by watching the video below!

 

Caracal Kittens
Born May 10, 2020

Very close to midnight on May 10, 2020, (Mother’s Day) a caracal delivered kittens inside her nest box. They are the first caracals ever to be born at Nashville Zoo, and the animal care team was keeping a close eye on them and wishing their Mom a very special Mother’s Day.

Like human mothers, caracals need time to bond with their new offspring. No need for a “do not disturb” sign. The staff stays clear to give the new family their privacy but monitors them using a small camera placed in the nest box. An online link to the camera allows keepers and the veterinary team to watch from virtually anywhere.

The new mom and kittens did fine and remained together for 7 to 10 days. After that, the animal care team removed the cubs and continued to raise them in the Zoo’s nursery. The mother returned to an area away from the public view where she could relax with her mate and another caracal pair.

Raising the kittens by hand is a necessary and important step in socializing them to people. As they grow, the kittens will become ambassador animals for another zoo. The black tufts of their ears will capture the attention of onlookers who will wonder how a cat less than two feet at the shoulders can jump vertically up to 12 feet high. Guests will also learn that these cats developed this ability to catch birds as they fly by.

This species is important to conservation because they will help us interpret the woodland, savanna and acacia scrub habitats of Africa, the caracal’s native habitat. Guests will learn about the conservation challenges we must address on behalf of caracals. Challenges like habitat loss and trapping due to human conflict.

Cassowary Chick
Hatched June 5, 2020

On June 5, Nashville Zoo welcomed its first cassowary chick into the world. After 54 days of incubation and a few harrowing nights of severe weather, the female chick hatched and was cared for in the Zoo’s HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center.

“The males are the ones that sit on the eggs and protect them from harm,” said Shelley Norris, Nashville Zoo’s Avian Area Supervisor. “He sat through several bad storms in April and May including the big storm that took down over 60 trees at the Zoo. Two of those were very close to the nest and he never moved!”

During times that the male moved away from the nest, keepers were able to monitor and actually see inside the two, large, pea-green eggs using a portable x-ray machine. Several weeks of observation passed with no development detected in either egg. The keepers made a decision to move the eggs to an incubator at the Veterinary Center giving the cassowary couple another chance to breed and lay viable eggs. Surprise! The veterinary team discovered that one of the eggs was fertile. The chick was born a few weeks later.

Neo weighed 418 grams (just shy of one pound) at birth. She will grow steadily for the next three years until she is fully mature at about five feet high and 130 pounds. Before then, Neo will be sent to another conservation organization to meet her mate.

Double-wattled or Southern Cassowaries (Casuarius casuarius) are native to Indonesia, New Guinea and Australia and are not considered endangered though their habitat is threatened by commercial development and agriculture. Nashville Zoo helps to protect the cassowary by supporting Australian organizations that preserve this species’ native habitats. The Zoo also participates in the cassowary Species Survival Plan®, a program developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining captive population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

Kangaroo Joey
Appeared June, 2020

On June 30, Nashville Zoo announced the arrival of Kangaroo Joeys. Less than a month later, the zoo’s three oldest joeys (Proodence, Gertroode, and Roothie) were out of the pouch and began interacting with each other. The baby boom continues as there are even more Joeys on the way!


Cheetah Cubs at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium are First Ever Born via In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfers

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In a groundbreaking scientific breakthrough, two Cheetah cubs have been born through in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer into a surrogate mother at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

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The births are the result of careful planning and innovative medical expertise through a partnership between the Columbus Zoo, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, Va., and Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas—three leading institutions with a commitment to conservation. These efforts were also part of a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) and the Cheetah Sustainability Program (CSP), developed to manage a sustainable population of cheetahs in human care.

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While the cubs’ biological mother is Kibibi, the cubs were delivered on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at 9:50 p.m. and 10:20 p.m. by Isabelle (Izzy). The cheetahs’ care team observed the births through a remote camera and continue to monitor Izzy and her cubs closely. Izzy, a first-time mom, has been providing great care to her cubs at this time. The care team performed a well check on the cubs on Friday, February 21 and determined that Izzy gave birth to a male cub and a female cub. The cubs have been observed nursing, and the male currently weighs in at 480 grams and the female weighs 350 grams.

“These two cubs may be tiny but they represent a huge accomplishment, with expert biologists and zoologists working together to create this scientific marvel,” said Dr. Randy Junge, the Columbus Zoo’s Vice President of Animal Health. “This achievement expands scientific knowledge of cheetah reproduction, and may become an important part of the species’ population management in the future.”

Continue reading "Cheetah Cubs at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium are First Ever Born via In Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Transfers" »


Lion Cubs Roar Into Woburn Safari

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Woburn Safari Park announced the arrival of two African Lion cubs, which were born to parents Zuri and Joco in late July. The cubs spend most of their time in the den with their mother but are expected to move into the Lion exhibit later this month.

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Lion Cubs close up photo Aug 2019Photo Credit: Woburn Safari Park

Keepers have already spotted the youngsters playing with each other and with their mom’s tail and they are looking stronger on their legs every day. Born weighing just over two pounds each, the cubs will begin to be weaned from their mother onto meat at around 10-12 weeks old and will be fully weaned by the time they are 6-8 months old.

Lioness Zuri, 5, is extremely protective of her new young, and naturally can become aggressive if disturbed. Keepers prepared for the birth by creating a secluded den in one compartment of the Lion house for Zuri and her cubs, so they can enjoy bonding in a quiet, private area. In the wild, a Lioness will give birth and keep her cubs in a den of thick dense cover, like acacia bushes, so keepers have tried to replicate this environment as much as possible.

Keepers are feeding Zuri five days out of every seven, monitoring how much she eats each day to decide when she is fed. Normally the Lions are fed large meals every four days to mimic wild hunting patterns, including feast days and fast periods.

Craig Lancaster, Team Leader for Carnivores at Woburn Safari Park, said, “It’s hugely exciting to have new Lion cubs at the Park and we are so pleased that they seem to be settling in so well. They aren’t crying a lot and are already looking chunky and healthy, which indicates that they are feeding well and are content in their surroundings.

“The public will be able to view the cubs in the side pen after all their vaccinations are up to date in late September. We will ensure the vets are happy with their progress before they are moved into the main Lion enclosure later on in the year.”

Once ranging across most of Africa, the Middle East, and southwestern Asia, Lions have suffered drastic population declines in the past 50 years. Most of the 20,000-50,000 Lions remaining in Africa reside in protected areas such as parks and reserves. Tourism, and the revenue it creates, is a strong incentive for Lion conservation. These majestic Cats are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

 


Two Amur Leopard Cubs Boost This Rare Species

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Two Amur Leopard cubs born at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo on June 19 had their six-week health checks last week. This was the first time that the care team has handled the cubs, who have been bonding with their mom, Tria, behind the scenes.  The cubs’ father is Rafferty.

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Male cub 7-31-19
Male cub 7-31-19

Amur leopard male getting weighed croppedPhoto Credit (all except top photo): Maria Simmons

Amur Leopards are the most endangered of all big Cats, so this birth is a significant boost for the species. Fewer than 90 individuals remain in the wild in their native habitat in the Amur River Basin in Far East Russia.

The zoo’s care team has been observing the cubs via closed-circuit camera with minimal intervention to allow Tria to care for them undisturbed, and she has proven to be a great mom. Veterinary staff were able to administer the cubs’ 6-week vaccinations during the checkup, as well as weigh them and check their development.  The male weighed 6.2 pounds, and the female weighed 5.6 pounds.

The zoo acquired Tria and Rafferty last year from the Greenville, SC. and San Diego zoos respectively as part of the Species Survival Plan for Amur Leopards.

This species faces extinction because of habitat destruction for logging and farming, overhunting of its prey by humans and illegal poaching for their beautiful coats. Those in the wild are now protected in a preserve established by Russia in 2012, but the wild population is so small that inbreeding has become another threat to the species’ survival.


Denver Zoo Roars With Pride Over Newborn Lion

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There’s a lot to roar about this summer at Denver Zoo with the arrival of an African Lion cub. The cub, whose sex has yet to be determined, was born on July 25 to mom Neliah, 7, and dad Tobias, 3. Animal care staff say mom and cub are both healthy and active, and bonding behind the scenes. Although the cub won’t make his or her public debut until later this summer, zoo guests can still catch a glimpse of Neliah and her cub on TV screens near the exhibit.

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African lion cub 4Photo Credit: Denver Zoo

“This is Neliah’s second time around as a mom, so we were confident she’d show all the correct behaviors with her new cub,” said Assistant Curator of Predators Matt Lenyo. “She immediately started grooming and nursing the cub, which is exactly what we hoped she would do.”

Half of Africa’s Lions have disappeared in the past 25 years and the species faces growing threats from poaching, loss of prey, and habitat destruction. The cub’s birth is a huge success for the Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP), which ensures healthy, genetically diverse populations of Lions within Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) institutions. The SSP recommended Tobias move to Denver in 2018 as a potential mate for Neliah and her daughter, Kamara.

“Tobias hasn’t fathered any cubs previously, which makes his genetics important to the AZA Lion population,” said Colahan. “The fact that he’s already successfully mated with one of our females speaks to the work our Lion team put in to make Tobias feel comfortable in his new home in such a short period of time.”

Neliah and the cub will stay behind the scenes for at least one to two months to give them time to bond and gradually introduce the cub to the rest of the pride. They'll primarily stay in their den box, which the animal care team provides to mimic the space Neliah would seek out to give birth in the wild. Neliah will still have access to other holding areas behind the scenes, but the addition of the den box provides a sense of security for mom and cub.



 


Orphaned Mountain Lion Cubs Arrive At Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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Three orphaned Mountain Lion cubs arrived at their new home at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in late May after being found alone in a den in Washington state. The two sisters and their brother were estimated to be about six weeks old at the time of their rescue.

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CMZoo Mountain Lion Cub 6a
CMZoo Mountain Lion Cub 6aPhoto & Video Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) responded to a human-wildlife conflict that resulted in the cubs’ mother’s death. WDFW staff members reached out to the zoo community to find a home for the young Lions, who were too small to survive on their own in the wild.

“We’re excited to provide a home for these young, playful cubs,” said Rebecca Zwicker, senior lead keeper in Rocky Mountain Wild, where the cubs will live. “Of course, these situations are bittersweet. We wish we didn’t have to find homes for orphaned cubs, but we’re grateful for our partnerships, because we can offer the cubs an amazing life of choices, care, and compassion.”

This is the second litter of orphaned Mountain Lion cubs that Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has helped to rescue. The first litter came from Wyoming in 2006. Tocho, Motega and Yuma were all male members of the litter who have since passed. Kaya, the female Mountain Lion who lives in Rocky Mountain Wild, is the remaining member of the original litter. After the cubs earn a clean bill of health, the plan is to introduce them to Kaya.

“We’re hoping Kaya, who is blind and aging, will enjoy having company again,” Zwicker said. “We’ll take our time letting Kaya and the cubs have opportunities to interact from a safe distance, and then we’ll follow their lead. It would be ideal if they could live together, because the cubs can learn how to be Mountain Lions from Kaya.”

While the cubs are behind the scenes, they’ll receive vaccinations and veterinary checks to ensure they’re ready to explore their new home in Rocky Mountain Wild.

“Mountain Lions are part of our daily lives in Colorado,” said Zwicker. “These cubs will be ambassadors for their wild relatives, helping our guests learn about their species, their unique personalities and behaviors, their contributions to our ecosystem, and how we can live peacefully with them.”




 


Clouded Leopard Birth Includes Two Much-Needed Males

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Nashville Zoo is pleased to announce that a Clouded Leopard named River gave birth to three cubs, two males and one female, on April 29. 

Nashville Zoo is part of the Clouded Leopard Consortium and also part of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan® in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The species is under threat in its native habitat.

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47798037611_c5de765218_kPhoto Credit: Dr. Margarita Woc Colburn

“These three cubs are important because they will go on to pair with other Clouded Leopards and increase this species' captive population," said Dr. Heather Robertson, Nashville Zoo Director of Veterinary Services. “The two males are particularly important because there were no males born at AZA facilities last year, which means there were few, if any, cub pairings."

Clouded Leopards are paired with unrelated mates born at other zoos within the first year so the couple will grow up together. This process lowers aggression from the males and increases the chance of successful mating and birth in the future.

After the care team noticed that three-year-old River appeared to be neglecting her cubs, the veterinary team removed the cubs to hand rear. Clouded Leopard cubs are often hand-reared in zoos because females often neglect their offspring. Hand rearing also lowers stress for future hands-on care and helps with introductions to mates in the future.

The cubs will stay at Nashville Zoo for now with plans to eventually introduce them to a potential mate at another zoo.

The cubs weigh between 220-265 grams each. With the addition of these cubs, the Zoo is now home to 13 Clouded Leopards. Nashville Zoo has been working with these cats since 1992 and has welcomed 38 cubs since 2009. There are currently 74 Clouded Leopards in the AZA facilities and 295 in accredited facilities globally.  

Dr. Robertson is the nationwide vet advisor for this species. Much of the information known about this species is because of the collaboration between Nashville Zoo, Smithsonian's National Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand and The Zoological Parks Organization of Thailand. 

Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Though they are protected by law in most range countries, enforcement of these laws is weak in many places. Precise data on Clouded Leopard population numbers in the wild is not known. The reduced number of pelts encountered at markets and reduced sightings of Clouded Leopards by people within its range suggest the species is in decline.


Clouded Leopard Cubs Make History at Nashville Zoo

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The first Clouded Leopard to be born from artificial insemination using frozen/thawed semen has given birth to two cubs at the Nashville Zoo.

The two-year-old female, Niran, gave birth with no complications. “We’ve really made history with Niran,” said Dr. Heather Robertson, Nashville Zoo Director of Veterinary Services.

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47434272392_4bbf2d317c_kPhoto Credit: Nashville Zoo

The newest cubs weigh about 187 and 192 grams each. After two-year-old Niran gave birth, the zoo's veterinary team removed the cubs to hand rear. The veterinary staff typically hand raises Clouded Leopard cubs because the mothers often neglect their offspring. Hand rearing also lowers animal stress for future hands-on care.

With the addition of these cubs, the zoo is now home to eight Clouded Leopards.

Nashville Zoo has been working with these cats since 1987 and has welcomed 34 cubs since 2009. There are currently 69 Clouded Leopards in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ care and 292 in facilities globally. 

Niran and one-year-old Ron, the father, are living behind the scenes, and the cubs will be placed in the HCA Healthcare Veterinary Center neonatal animal care room within a week. The cubs will stay at Nashville Zoo for now with plans to eventually introduce them to a potential mate at another zoo.

Nashville Zoo is part of the Clouded Leopard Consortium and also part of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan®. Dr. Robertson is the nationwide vet advisor for this species. Much of the information known about this species is because of the collaboration between Nashville Zoo, Smithsonian's National Zoo, Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand and The Zoological Parks Organization of Thailand.

Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  They are protected in much of their range, which spans from the Himalayan foothills to Southeast Asia, but enforcement of those protections is weak. Precise data on Clouded Leopard population numbers in the wild is not known. The reduced number of pelts encountered at markets and reduced sightings of Clouded Leopards by people within its range suggest the species is in decline.

See more photos of Niran's cubs below.

Continue reading "Clouded Leopard Cubs Make History at Nashville Zoo" »