TACOMA, Wash. - An endangered clouded leopard at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium gave birth to two healthy cubs - a male and a female - on Tuesday morning.
“The cubs are eating well and sleeping soundly,” said staff biologist Andy Goldfarb, who has cared for exotic cats for over 25 years and was present at the cubs’ birth.
The cubs weigh about a half-pound each. Zoo staff will hand-raise the cubs for the cubs’ safety and will invite the public to vote on the cubs’ names once the cubs are more settled.
In a few weeks, the cubs will move into the zoo’s cub den, where visitors will be able to see them up close and watch staff feed and care for them. The cub den is a key feature in the zoo’s Cats of the Canopy exhibit, which opened last summer.
Point Defiance Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ clouded leopard Species Survival Plan, 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.