Naples Zoo is celebrating the birth of two endangered Clouded Leopard kittens. First time mother, Tika, gave birth to kitten one at 7:49 am Friday, February 22, and kitten two arrived at 8:32 am. Both kittens are female. The first-born kitten weighed 262 grams, and kitten two weighed 244 grams.
Clouded Leopard kittens are born with their eyes and ears closed. They typically open within 10 to 14 days. The kittens are being bottle-fed and will be hand-reared by Naples Zoo’s animal care staff. This has proven to be the best practice for the species and has generated the best results in terms of the health and well being of Clouded Leopard kittens. The kittens are not yet named, but the Zoo will announce their names soon. Currently, the kittens are not on exhibit at the Zoo.
Clouded Leopards are listed as “Endangered” by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, under the United States Endangered Species Act. They are classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. The species is under significant pressure in the wild from human encroachment and destruction of its habitat, as well as poaching. The cats, which live in the forests and trees of Southeast Asia, are elusive, and it’s difficult to know how many remain in the wild.
The Clouded Leopard parents, Tika and Masala, arrived at Naples Zoo in September of 2016 from two different facilities to contribute to the future of their species. The pair was specifically matched by the Species Survival Plan(r) (SSP) based on their ancestry, in an effort to create the greatest genetic diversity in the population over the next century. Naples Zoo is pleased to be a part of this critical program to sustain the Clouded Leopard population in Zoos.