The Smithsonian National Zoo welcomed another clouded leopard cub last Friday at its off-display Conservation and Research Center. This cub was born to parents Jao Chu and Hannibal who were brought to the U.S. from Thailand through the Clouded Leopard Breeding Consortium. The pair had their first litter of two male cubs in March. The gender of the new cub has not yet been determined.
Because the cubs are being hand-reared, Jao Chu came back into estrus quickly after giving birth and was able to breed again, producing the new cub in a short time span. This rapid return to estrus is an adaptation that allows wild cats to breed again quickly in the event they lose their cubs to predation or other causes. Because gestation is so short - approximately 85 days - the cats can have another litter within the same breeding season when conditions are optimal.
Congratulations to the National Zoo for some more great news!