Two new additions at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (PDZA) showed their adorable faces to the public on March 24 – the yet-to-be-named, two-week-old clouded leopard cubs.
The cubs, born March 6 at PDZA, will make appearances every four hours during daily feeding times, currently set for 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
PDZA has become one of only three zoos nationwide to breed these endangered clouded leopards, along with Nashville Zoo and Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo. The cubs are the second litter for Chai Li and her mate Nah Fun, who gave birth to their first litter, Taji and Sumalee, in June 2011.
For the past 10 years or so, PDZA has become an international leader in clouded leopard conservation, working with partners worldwide, supporting field research, education initiatives and breeding programs.
“There are very few organizations focused on clouded leopard preservation,” said associate curator of education Karen Povey. Povey is involved in field research and also develops educational and breeding programs for clouded leopards here as well as in Thailand and Borneo.
“These are such engaging animals, our entire staff has become completely smitten with them,” she added.
Although clouded leopard numbers are dropping in the wild, Povey said people can make an impact on conservation efforts by simply making good consumer choices. “Purchasing sustainable wood products and sustainable palm oil can make a difference to these animals,” Povey said.
The cubs will not be considered completely independent until about 10 months old, and eventually grow to an average adult size of about 35-51 pounds.
Stationed in the Cats of the Canopy exhibit, the male and female cubs are already exhibiting signs of distinct personalities, according to staff biologist Andy Goldfarb. “The male is always trying to beat up on his sister, and the female has been very picky about the temperature of her formula,” Goldfarb laughed. “Their personalities are slowly starting to develop. I can tell the female will have a very confident attitude in the future.”
In the past couple weeks, the cubs have nearly quadrupled in weight, and will continue to be bottle fed a special formula until they are introduced to meat at around six months old.
Don’t miss the cubs during feeding times daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Help zoo officials choose the perfect name for each cub, by visiting www.surveymonkey.com/s/YF28QN3. Each name was carefully chosen by zoo officials to reflect personality traits of each cub. Here are your options:
Tong-Yi – Big Belly
Win-Yan – Soul
Tum-Li – Destruction
Chan-Soon – Noble
Toy-Long – Backwards
Sook-Son – Mischievous
Chok-De – Fortunate
Kwam-My – Meaningful