Two Endangered Clouded Leopard Kittens Born At Zoo
Two highly endangered clouded leopards have been born at a zoo in Miami, with zookeepers confirming they are ‘thriving’.
The kittens – one male and one female – were born on February 11 but the Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, also known as Zoo Miami, has just this week announced their birth after secluding them in a den with their mother since then to allow them to bond.
Following their examination and vaccinations on Tuesday, April 7, the newborn kittens were confirmed by zookeepers to be ‘developing well’.
However, staff at the zoo said they were taking special measures to protect the two kittens following the ‘recent revelation that a tiger had contracted [coronavirus] at another zoological facility’.
Last month, a four-year-old Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo was confirmed to have the virus, with researchers saying it’s likely the tiger – named Nadia – was infected by one of her zookeepers. Six other lions and tigers at the zoo also displayed symptoms such as dry coughing and loss of appetite.
In a Facebook post announcing the birth of the kittens, the zoo confirmed its staff were taking precautions such as stepping into disinfecting foot-baths prior to entering any ‘feline area’, as well as using masks and gloves while working in those areas.
The mother of the two kittens, Serai, was born in Virginia in May 2011 with the father, Rajasi, born in Tennessee in March of that same year. ‘This is the second successful litter for both parents,’ the zoo said.
The statement continued:
The two kittens were born on February 11th and have been secluded in a den with their mother since then to avoid any external stress and allow the new mother to properly bond with them.
Zoo staff was able to separate the mother from her kittens to do an initial neonatal exam on February 26th in order to evaluate the condition of the kittens… Since that time, the kittens have continued to develop well while remaining in seclusion with their mother.
Today, they were once again separated to receive their initial vaccines and to confirm that they are developing well. Both offspring appear to be thriving and the mother continues to be attentive and nursing them on a regular basis.
Clouded leopards are considered a vulnerable species due to over-hunting and are typically found in forests within southern China, Taiwan, and Malaysia.
Adults usually weigh between 30 and 50 pounds and their diet includes a variety of birds and mammals – including monkeys, deer and porcupines. They have a very long tail with relatively short legs and large paws, and have the longest canine teeth relative to their size of any wild cat.
The zoo is currently closed to the public due to social distancing guidelines, but said in their statement that when the pandemic has ‘finally run its course’ they hope that guests will come and visit the clouded leopards in person.
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