A pair of two endangered Clouded Leopard kittens were born at Naples Zoo.
The mother, Tika, gave birth to one kitten near 8:00 a.m. and the second near 8:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 22. Both kittens are female, with the first weighing 262 grams while the latter 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, according to the Naples Zoo press release. 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. The Zoo will announce their names next week. The kittens will not be 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. The species is under significant pressure in the wild from human encroachment and destruction of its habitat, as well as poaching, per the press release. 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 mother and father of the kittens were specifically matched by the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) based on their ancestry, to create the greatest genetic diversity in the population over the next century, according to the press release. The clouded leopards, Tika and Masala, arrived in September of 2016 from two different facilities to contribute to the future of their species. Naples Zoo is pleased to be a part of this critical program to sustain the clouded leopard population in Zoos.