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Friday, February 6, 2009

Thailand Clouded Leopard Breeding Program
I recently mentioned our visit to the cubs at Thailand's Khao Kheow Open Zoo and thought I would tell you a little bit more about the breeding program that produced them. This project was begun in 2002 and now represents the largest and most genetically valuable zoo population of clouded leopards in the world. The program has produced 38 cubs in 17 litters. This is quite an achievement given the huge challenges in developing compatible pairs of clouded leopards. The program has Thai zoo keeper staff providing care for the animals under the supervision of Rick Passarro, an experienced clouded leopard keeper from the U.S. Rick is relieved each year by Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Biologist Andy Goldfarb. In fact, he leaves for Thailand in a couple of weeks to give Rick a couple of month's break - essential for someone with a job that requires attendion 24/7! The breeding program is managed by a consortium made up of the Thailand Zoological Park Organization, Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Smithsonian's National Zoo, Nashville Zoo, and the Thailand Department of National Parks. During our visit, Point Defiance was official added as a formal member of the consortium. This is an exciting development because we have provided significant staff and funding resources to the project over the last several years. We also hope to augment that support by assisting Zoo staff in the production of educational materials relating to clouded leopards as well as assistance with keeper training. We hope to have many years of productive partnership in the future!
Signing the new agreement adding Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The press even attended!

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