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Monday, March 3, 2008

Thailand Greetings From Andy
We received this message from Andy Goldfarb, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Staff Biologist. Andy is spending about two months in Thailand managing the clouded leopard breeding project while the regular manager is taking some well deserved vacation. Visit the website for more information about the project.

"Hello there or I should say Sawadeecup!!

This is Andy Goldfarb back for another adventure in Thailand with the clouded leopards. I'm continuing my work for the Thailand Clouded Leopard Consortium. This is a group of zoos, such as the Smithsonian National Zoological Park and the Nashville Zoo. My zoo (Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium) basically donates me to work for two to four months at a time at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo. My job as project leader is to oversee the day to day operations of a very large collection of clouded leopards.

I'll have to start at the beginning to give a quick overview of the work that has gone on over here. Clouded leopards in Thai zoos represent a key genetic resource to the survival of clouded leopards. The program started back in 2002; at that time there were 27 clouded leopards in Thai zoos. Sixteen were sent to Khao Kheow. The job was to provide an environment that was less stressful for the cats to hopefully improve the chances of breeding. This meant providing a large area for the cats to climb and feel safe. They were also given a proper diet, with vitamins and minerals.

So to make a long story (with a lot of ups and downs) short we have had great success. When I arrived we had 34 clouded leopards on site. We have had 35 cubs born with 29 surviving. We have sent leopards to other zoos within Thailand and as of last week I sent four more cats to the U.S. to join the breeding program there, bringing a total of six cats imported into the U.S."

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