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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Clouded Leopard Cubs At Khao Kheow Open Zoo

After discussing clouded leopards for the last two weeks, a portion of our group finally got to actually see some in person! We stopped by the Zoo, south of Bangkok to visit the clouded leopard breeding program managed by the Smithsonian's National Zoo in partnership with the Thailand Zoological Park Organization. First up, a visit with the program's newest cubs - one male and two females about 10 weeks old. This is the perfect age to interact with these hand-reared cubs. They are getting more active and agile, are very friendly and curious, and are of course devastatingly adorable. Look carefully and you can also see that their baby blue eyes are in transition to their adult amber color. A big thank you goes out to Rick Passarro, the program's manager, who patiently let us maul his babies. It's been a long time since Karen and I had our hands on clouded leopard cubs so we made up for lost time!


ansley said...

Wow, we were at the Khao Kheow Zoo the last two days and stumbled upon three clouded leopards off the beaten path in large enclosures! Yesterday we saw a long stretch of unmarked animal enclosures off the main road not too far down from the Cat section at the zoo, we parked and thought I saw some movement in one of the un-marked enclosures. We asked to keepers near there if we could go see the anmials, they pointed and said yes. The first 7-8 enclosures had some wonderful birds, hornbills, toucans, etc. However, the last three each had a clouded leopard. At the time, we did knot know what species of cat they were, but we instantly fell in love with them. There were two males, but in the middle enclosure (VERY large with good vegistation) was a baby female. It instantly ran over to greet us and purred and meowed as it rubbed up against the side of the open section of the cage. It was so adorable. One of larger males was happy to see us as well, but the other hissed and did not like us at all. The next day we returned to visit our new cat friends and we were so moved by two that really loved our presence, that when we returned home to Bangkok today I looked them up! Wow, found out that the zoo is part of an international effort to preserve this wonderful cat! Now we understand why they were off on their own. We are instantly huge clouded leopard fans, from their unique appearance and exotic look to the antics of the ones we saw. I wish them a long and wonderful future! Regards, The Ansley family

Karen said...

Hi Ansleys! That's great that you got a peek at the cats. In addition to the work we do breeding them at KKOZ, we provide lots of support for field conservationists studying them in the wild. I hope you'll learn even more on our website! Glad you are now clouded leopard fans.

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