TACOMA, Wash. -- Point Defiance Zoo's new clouded leopard cubs turn one-month old, and zoo keepers say they're thriving and drawing thousands of visitors.
The cubs, a female and male, were born at the Tacoma zoo on June 14 and now weigh more than two pounds each. They were the first litter delivered by the zoo's endangered clouded leopards, Chai and Li. (Story continues below.)
Zoo keepers say their personalities are beginning to form. The female is a little feisty, while her brother is more laid back.
“The female is like their mom, a real go-getter, and the male is like their dad, pretty mellow,” said Andy Goldfarb, a staff biologist. “With their eyes now being open, they are really checking us out and wanting to explore everyone around them. They are very playful and starting to goof around with each other.”
For the past month, zoo staff members have been monitoring and caring for the cubs 24 hours a day, with multiple feedings daily. The public can watch the cubs during feeding times in the zoo's new cub den, part of the zoo's new $1 million Cats of the Canopy exhibit.
The zoo launched an online poll to determine the cubs’ names and thousands of votes have already been submitted. Five names are proposed for each, the majority of which are Thai because Thailand is the native habitat of clouded leopards.
The poll is available on the Point Defiance Zoo's website. The contest will run until Wednesday, July 27. The names will be announced soon after.
The two new cubs bring the total number of clouded leopards at the Point Defiance Zoo to eight. Point Defiance Zoo is only one of three zoos in the country breeding endangered clouded leopards, along with the Smithsonian Institute's National Zoo and the Nashville Zoo.