Saturday, October 30, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Hey Guys! It’s me Andy and I know it has been a long time. I’m actually here in the States. You usually only hear from me when I’m working in Thailand, and even then it’s infrequently that I write. I know I’m a lame-o when it comes to that. I’ve been ask to give an update about everything that’s been happening with the breeding program over in Thailand and here at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.
I’ll start where I left off. The reason that I disappeared from the blog after the holidays was because a cat at the breeding center was seriously injured by another cat. Her name is Lom Choy and she tried to pick a fight with another cat through the fence one night. I’ll never forget walking into the building that morning. Normally, Lom Choy is always up running back and forth in anticipation of breakfast. This time she wasn’t and it caught my attention right away. I went in to see her and she was laying down very still. Her front left leg had been chewed up severely. My heart just sank, I felt sick to my stomach as I grabbed her and took her to the hospital. This was just 2 weeks before I was to leave Th
ailand and she was a cub that was to be coming to America. That last two weeks was all about saving this cat’s leg. She was a real trooper and put up with a tremendous amount of treatment and pain. She had to live at the hospital in a small cage. I would spend the night with her in the cage to keep her from ripping off her bandages. I also had help from friends from Australia. I had them sleep with her as well.
Six days before I left we had a litter of two cubs born. We had decided that the mother would raise these cubs which was good for me cause I was so busy with Lom Choy and let me tell you I was freaking out! Lom Choy was doing well but her wounds were intense and she had some infection. I was like a crazed father driving the vets nuts
, but that’s me. The new cubs were doing great with their mom and she was fine with us coming in checking on them.
Well on my last day early in the morning up at the building there was a huge roar. You may not know this and even those of us that work with clouded leopards don’t ever hear it but they can belt it out. It sounds like that classic cougar sound in some movies but with an extreme guttural sound that is shocking the first time you hear it. This had only been my second time hearing it in the 8 years that I’ve worked with cloudeds. One staff member and I ran outside to see what happened. All of the younger cats were freaking out over a bunch of monkeys that were climbing all over the enclosures.
I went to check on the new cubs but their mother was insanely aggressive to me so I had to back off and wait a while before checking again. When I got my chance to look in on the little guys I found that they had been injured by their mother most likely during the monkey strike. She had bitten into their tails. I had to take them to the hospital. Remember this is my last day and Rick the full time manager is on his way to Thailand and we aren’t going to cross paths. So he was coming back to one leopard fighting to keep her leg and two cubs that most likely were going to lose their tails. Needless to say I didn’t sleep that night for my 4:00 am departure from the land of a thousand smiles. I wasn’t smiling at all.
I did return to Thailand about a month later to pick up three clouded leopards for our zoo and one very special one for the Nashville, Tennessee Zoo - Lom Choy! Lom Choy looked great when I got there. She had some scarring but she had her leg and no permanent damage and that was the greatest thing to see. The two young girls did lose a fair bit of their tails but they were happy healthy cubs and that’s all that mattered.
Ok, that’s part one of the story... I’ll write the rest soon.... I promise.....really I will!
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
I thought I'd post a terrific video from the archives. Here are some of the wonderful results of the Thailand clouded leopard breeding program. I dare you not to smile!
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
It's hard to believe, but we now have a total of six clouded leopards at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium now! Four of these cats have arrived within the last six months. Three of them - imported from Thailand - were profiled here previously. Two, Chai Lai and Nah Fun, came to us already paired and continue to have strong bonds with one another. The third is Jao Ying, a three year old female. Now Jao Ying has been joined by young Cheewit, a six month old cub born at Smithsonian's National Zoo. They have already been introduced and are getting along so well that they now spend the entire day together. This is a great sign that they are on their way to becoming a bonded pair that will breed in the future. (Cheewit won't be old enough until he is about two.)
When Cheewit isn't hanging out with Jao Ying, he visits the animal exercise yard at Wild Wonders Outdoor Theater for playtime with zoo staff members. Because he was hand-raised, Cheewit is very well socialized and has a great time showing off his wicked good climbing skills for zoo guests. We'll get some video posted of him soon!