Leopard

Rare Leopard Cubs Born in Vienna

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With fewer than 100 individuals remaining in the wild, Amur Leopards are the world’s rarest big Cats. That’s why the birth of two cubs at Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn is cause for celebration.

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X31855149_1626993224022643_6275272391429980160_oPhoto Credits: Daniel Zupanc Fotographie and Norbert Potensky

Born on March 27 to first-time parents Ida and Piotr, the cubs are the first ever to be born at Zoo Vienna.  For the past month, the cubs have been in the maternity den with Ida. But last week, they began making their first visits to the zoo’s indoor Leopard habitat, where they can be seen by zoo guests – but only for a few minutes before they scurry back to the den or are carried off by their mother.

At birth, the little cubs were blind and helpless. After about two weeks, they opened their eyes. Their genders are not yet known, so the cubs have not yet been named.

The staff reports that first-time mother Ida is doing a good job of nurturing her cubs.

Amur Leopards are Critically Endangered and live in remote forests of the Russian Far East, with a few individuals roaming over the Chinese border. They possess thick fur as an adaptation for the bitterly cold winters in the area. Poaching for body parts is the main threat to their survival, as is the poaching of the Leopards’ prey. Forest fires, the building of roads and settlements, and disease are additional threats to the Cats’ survival.

Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn participates in the European conservation breeding program to create a sustainable, genetically diverse population of these magnificent Cats.

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Rare Sri Lankan Leopard Cubs Born at Zoo Brno

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Two Endangered Sri Lankan Leopard cubs at the Czech Republic’s Zoo Brno had their first veterinary checkup last week.

Born in November 2017 to female Nayana, the cubs – one male and one female – were proclaimed healthy and strong by the veterinary team. Each weighs a little over four-and-a-half pounds.  

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26173533_1636575439714201_4204586484020348069_oPhoto Credit:  Zoo Brno

The cubs have spent their first weeks of life tucked into the den with Nayana, where they nurse, sleep, and play with each other.  They are the first Ski Lankan Leopard cubs to be born at the zoo in 17 years.

Sri Lankan Leopards are one of nine Leopard subspecies recognized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  (Some taxonomists recognize only eight Leopard subspecies.) Even though Leopards are considered highly adaptable and live in mountains, forests, deserts, and grasslands in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, all Leopard subspecies are in decline. Sri Lankan Leopards are listed as Endangered by the IUCN, with the primary threats coming from loss of habitat, loss of prey species, and poaching for body parts.

 


Snow Leopard Cub Takes It Outside

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When Woodland Park Zoo keepers opened the door allowing Aibek, a 2-month-old Snow Leopard, to leave the maternity den for the first time, the cub zipped outside so fast that he beat his mom into the outdoor habitat.

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2017_09_19 Aibek snow leopard 900-1wmPhoto Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Aibek immediately began pouncing, climbing, and stealthily sneaking around the enclosure amid a light drizzling rain. He climbed to the top of the habitat’s rocky hill and promptly found a spot that was nearly out of sight to the crowd that had gathered to greet him – typical of Snow Leopards, which are elusive in the wild, too.

You first met Aibek, who was born July 6, on ZooBorns when he was just a few weeks old. Like all wild Snow Leopards, he spent the first two months of his life snuggled in a cozy den with his mother, feeding exclusively on her milk. While mom Helen and her cub were bonding in the den, keepers were able to conduct occasional wellness checks and observed that Helen was providing excellent care for her cub. Now a healthy 10 pounds, Aibek has started eating meat but still nurses from his mom.

Aibek is the first single cub to be born at the zoo. Snow Leopards typically have litters of two or three cubs, so keepers expected Aibek to be rather timid since he had no siblings to wrestle and play with. But so far, Aibek has demonstrated confidence as he explores the outdoors, and Helen is an experienced mother who knows how to keep her cub safe.

Snow Leopards are listed as a Vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. These cats live in the high mountain ranges of Russia and several Central Asian nations, including in Afghanistan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal and Pakistan. According to the Snow Leopard Trust, the wild population of Snow Leopards is estimated to be between 3,920 and 6,390 individuals.

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Endangered Leopard Brothers on Exhibit at Hogle Zoo

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Utah's Hogle Zoo is pleased to introduce their new Amur Leopard cubs, Rafferty and Roman!

The cubs were born February 17 and have been bonding with mom, Zeya, behind the scenes, learning all the basics of being an Amur Leopard. Rafferty’s name means “one who possess prosperity”, and Roman means “strong, powerful”.

According to keepers, Zeya is doing a great job nurturing her little duo and is fiercely protective of the boys. At their recent check-up, Rafferty and Roman clocked in at 12 and 13 pounds and are now ready to meet Zoo guests!

Hogle Zoo is thrilled to contribute to the population of this critically endangered species. Experts estimate only 60 Amur Leopards remain in the wild.

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Rafferty RomanPhoto Credits: Utah's Hogle Zoo

The Amur Leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is a subspecies native to the Primorye region of southeastern Russia and the Jilin Province of northeast China. The Amur Leopard is also known as the “Far Eastern Leopard”.

Amur Leopards are threatened by: poaching, encroaching civilization, new roads, poaching of their prey, forest fires, inbreeding, possible coexisting with disease carriers and transmitters, and exploitation of forests.

Due to the small number of reproducing Amur Leopards in the wild, the gene pool is so reduced that the population is also at risk from inbreeding depression.

The Amur Leopard is known as the most endangered of all Leopard subspecies. It is currently listed as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List. In 2007, only 19–26 wild Amur Leopards were estimated to have survived, and as of 2015, fewer than 60 individuals are estimated to survive in Russia and China.

According to the IUCN’s latest report, “Although the population of P. p. orientalis may have increased recently, especially on the Chinese side of the border (Xiao et al. 2014), the total population remains <60 individuals. With no noted population or range increase, the Sri Lankan Leopard (P. p. kotiya) should retain its current status as Endangered. The Leopard of southwestern Asia (P. p. saxicolor or ciscaucasica) has been recorded in previously undocumented areas of the Caucasus, such as Georgia and Azerbajian (Sarukhanova 2014, Voskyanyan 2014), however, due to overall low numbers and restricted range, this subspecies should remain listed as Endangered (Khorozyan 2008).”


Clouded Leopard Cub Opens His Eyes

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A Clouded Leopard Cub that made history when it was born on March 1 now has a name and has opened his eyes.  The cub was named Niron, which means eternal and everlasting in Thai.

Niron was conceived through artificial insemination using frozen/thawed sperm, the first time this technique was successfully used in Clouded Leopards.  The project is a collaboration of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and the Nashville Zoo, where the cub was born.  The procedure is explained in the cub’s birth announcement on ZooBorns.

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Dr. Maragartia Woc Colburn17426228_10154867782260622_8801842816958139571_nPhoto Credits:  Kelsey White (2,3), Dr. Margarita Woc Colburn (1,4,5,6,7,8) 

All Clouded Leopard cubs are reared by hand at the Nashville Zoo, a technique that prevents predation by the parents, enables cubs to be paired at an early age, and allows the normally nervous species to become acclimated to human interaction. 

Clouded Leopards are one of the rarest and most secretive of the world’s Cat species, and little is known about them.  They inhabit remote areas of southern China and other parts of Southeast Asia.  Clouded Leopards are listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with fewer than 10,000 adults remaining in the wild.

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Amur Leopard Twins Debut in Indiana

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The Amur Leopard cubs at Potawatomi Zoo have been kept from view and safely tucked away with mom Pearl, since their birth on July 26th.

Just prior to Christmas, Zoo guests were treated with a glimpse of the little ladies exploring their outdoor exhibit, on their official public debut.

According to staff, each cub has her own personality. One of the girls is a bit more reserved, while the other sister is more eager and bold.

While the sex of the cubs is known, the Zoo has yet to choose names. Keepers anticipate recruiting the public’s assistance in selecting names, after the winter season.

Potawatomi Zoo is the oldest zoo in Indiana, USA. In an effort to protect the animals and guests from the sometimes-brutal cold of the winter season, the Zoo implemented “Winter Days”. The facility will be closed for regular hours during the season, but visitors can still experience some of the Zoo and its residents on specially selected days. For more info, please see the Zoo’s website: https://potawatomizoo.org/events/winter-days-at-potawatomi-zoo.

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3_5855a65145fc9.imagePhoto Credits: Robert Franklin/South Bend Tribune

Potawatomi Zoo residents, 14 year-old Pearl and 18 year-old Sergei, are the parents of the cubs. The twins represent the fourth and fifth Amur Leopard cubs born at Potawatomi Zoo within the last two years. They are incredibly significant for both the Amur Leopard population and the Zoo. The remarkable birth marks nine successful Amur Leopard cubs born, through four litters, at the Zoo since 2007.

The Amur Leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is a subspecies native to the Primorye region of southeastern Russia and the Jilin Province of northeast China. They are classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, with approximately 70 individuals remaining in the wild and just over 200 in Zoos worldwide. They are on the brink of extinction in the wild due to poaching and loss of habitat.

Efforts at breeding Amur Leopards in captivity have been marginally successful at best, with just a handful of births in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facilities last year. The significance of Potawatomi Zoo’s twin cubs arriving 16 months after triplets, which were born in March of 2015, puts the Zoo on the conservation field map in terms of the Amur Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP) program’s breeding efforts. In the last year and a half, over 60% of viable Amur Leopard cub births in North American accredited zoological institutions took place at Potawatomi Zoo.

The Potawatomi Zoo, a participant in the AZA’s SSP program for Amur Leopards, is actively engaging in breeding genetically healthy Amur Leopards to help populate the critically endangered species. Amur Leopards are only found in Far Eastern Russia and Northeast China.


Rare Leopard Cub is Ready for Playtime

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A 4-month-old Amur Leopard cub at the Brookfield Zoo doesn’t know that he’s one of only 300 of these big cats alive today.  He just wants to play!

The 20-pound male cub, named Temur (pronounced Tee-moor), has been bonding behind the scenes with his mother, Lisa, since his birth on July 22.  He made his public debut at the zoo in November.

Amur Leopards are Critically Endangered, with fewer than 70 animals left in the Russian Far East.  Approximately 200 Amur Leopards live in zoos around the world. 

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Amur Leopard Cub-3Photo Credit:  Brookfield Zoo
With such a small group of animals, managers are careful to maintain genetic diversity in the population. By pairing unrelated animals for breeding and moving individuals among zoos, they have maintained 89 percent genetic diversity in the group.  For example, Lisa, the mother, was born at the Saint Louis Zoo and the sire, Kasha, came from Le Parc Des Felins in France. 

The biggest threats to these solitary animals are poaching; retribution hunting; habitat loss from fires, logging, and human settlement; and a decline in their prey. Temur’s birth marks a crucial addition to the population and will help raise awareness about the importance of conservation and the threats this species faces in the wild.

With keen hearing, vision, and smell, Amur Leopards hunt at night in Russia’s dense forests. Amur leopards are the northernmost subspecies of leopard in the world and are often mistaken for snow leopards.

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Big Day for a Little Leopard

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BIOPARC Valencia’s Sri Lankan Leopard cub timidly jumped at the opportunity to explore the outside area of his exhibit for the first time. The young male was born July 16, and until now, he has been safely tucked away with mom inside their den.

Although mom is never far away, the cub now has the opportunity to experience a simulation of all the things young Leopards enjoy in the wild. His new chance to explore will also allow zoo visitors a possible glimpse of the magnificent cub and his beautiful mother.

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4_BIOPARC Valencia - leopardos - madre y cachorro (primer día en el bosque ecuatorial) (8)Photo Credits: BIOPARC Valencia

When BIOPARC keepers discovered the new cub was a male, they decided to offer the students of Valencia School the opportunity to select his name. Keepers decided on three potential monikers: Kaos, Okon, and Ekon. Students were allowed to vote, and keepers anticipate announcing the winning name very soon.

The Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) is a subspecies native to Sri Lanka that was first described in 1956 by the Sri Lankan zoologist Deraniyagala.

The Sri Lankan Leopard has a tawny or rusty yellow coat with dark spots and close-set rosettes, which are smaller than those that appear on the Indian Leopard.

They are solitary hunters, and like other Leopards, silently stalk their prey until it is within striking distance. Once close to the prey, it unleashes a burst of speed to quickly pursue and pounce on its victim.

According to some, there appears to be no birth season or peak, with births scattered across months. A litter usually consists of up to 2 cubs.

In 2008, the Sri Lankan Leopard was classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Because of its beauty, the species is a prized trophy for poachers. Unfortunately, the wild population is estimated between 700-950 individuals.


Amur Leopard Twins Born in Indiana

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Potawatomi Zoo residents, 14 year-old Pearl and 18 year-old Sergei, are new parents again! The South Bend, Indiana zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of extremely rare Amur Leopard cub twins, born July 26th. Keepers report that both mom and cubs are doing great.

The twins represent the fourth and fifth Amur Leopard cubs born at Potawatomi Zoo within the last year and a half. They are incredibly significant for both the Amur Leopard population and the Zoo. The remarkable birth marks nine successful Amur Leopard cubs born, through four litters, at the Zoo since 2007.

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3_13957994_10153795030608176_3021858569571799799_oPhoto Credits: Dr. Kim Thompson

 

The Amur Leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) is a subspecies native to the Primorye region of southeastern Russia and the Jilin Province of northeast China. They are classified as “Critically Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, with approximately 70 individuals remaining in the wild and just over 200 in Zoos worldwide. They are on the brink of extinction in the wild due to poaching and loss of habitat.

Efforts at breeding Amur Leopards in captivity have been marginally successful at best, with just a handful of births in Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) facilities last year. The significance of Potawatomi Zoo’s twin cubs arriving 16 months after triplets, which were born in March of 2015, puts the Zoo on the conservation field map in terms of the Amur Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP) program’s breeding efforts. In the last year and a half, over 60% of viable Amur Leopard cub births in North American accredited zoological institutions took place at Potawatomi Zoo.

To add to the excitement of this landmark birth, the cubs received their first veterinary check up on August 6th, and were given a clean bill of health by Zoo Staff Veterinarian, Dr. Ronan Eustace, D.V.M.

“These little cubs are making their mark already. For Potawatomi Zoo to have five very rare Amur cubs born in the last year and a half is absolutely amazing,” says Potawatomi Zoo Executive Director, Marcy Dean. “This is such a remarkable birth and an incredible contribution to the population of a critically endangered species.”

The Potawatomi Zoo, a participant in the AZA’s SSP program for Amur Leopards, is actively engaging in breeding genetically healthy Amur Leopards to help populate the critically endangered species. Amur Leopards are only found in Far Eastern Russia and Northeast China.

The Amur Leopard cubs will not be available for public viewing for another four months, due to both age and size. They will spend the next several weeks in the nest box with mom, Pearl.

Visitors can stay up to date on how the cubs are doing by going to the Zoo’s website at: www.potawatomizoo.org , and at the Potawatomi Zoo’s YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHn4RNCDrrQYy9fxWUmjsdQ/feed to see pictures and video. The Zoo will continue to update nest box footage so visitors can watch the cubs grow before they are on exhibit.


Clouded Leopard Cubs Are a Triple Threat of Cuteness

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Clouded Leopard triplets were born March 30 at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. They are under the 24-hour care of keepers who feed them seven times a day and see to all of their other needs.

They squeak. They crawl a bit--sometimes over each other. They huddle together closely, looking like a big ball of spotted fur with legs and tails sticking out. They eagerly eat their special formula. And they sleep…a lot!

“Hand-rearing of these endangered exotic cats is an established practice that’s critical for their well-being as cubs and their later participation in the Species Survival Plan program for Clouded Leopards”, said staff biologist Andy Goldfarb.

Goldfarb has spent three decades caring for and raising endangered cats, and is known internationally as an expert in raising Clouded Leopards.

The cubs each weighed around 13 ounces, or just about three-quarters of a pound, at their first checkup. It’s still too early to tell their genders for certain, and they have yet to be named. The zoo will issue a news release and post to its Facebook page when details are available on how the public can help name the cubs.

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4_160406_pdza_leopardcubs_42Photo Credits: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium 

No date has been determined for their public debut, but zoological staff members expect the triplets’ feeds will be viewable in the Cats of the Canopy exhibit Cub Den by the end of April.

“These cubs are particularly valuable to the Species Survival Plan managed breeding program because the genetics of their mother, Sang Dao, are not represented in the population. That increases genetic diversity among the Clouded Leopards in North America,” Goldfarb said.

Sang Dao came to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium three years ago from Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Kansas. The cubs’ father, Tien, was born at Point Defiance Zoo three years ago. They are first-time parents.

The species is under significant pressure in the wild from encroachment and destruction of its habitat, as well as poaching.

The cats, which live in the forests and trees of Southeast Asia, are elusive, and it’s difficult to know how many remain in the wild.

“These cats are very rare,” Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium General Curator Karen Goodrowe Beck said. “We hope visitors to the zoo will connect with them and be inspired to take action to help save their species in the wild.”

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium long has been a leader in Clouded Leopard conservation. Both Goodrowe Beck and Goldfarb, supported by The Zoo Society’s Dr. Holly Reed Wildlife Conservation Fund, have worked with zookeepers in Thailand on improving ways to breed and rear Clouded Leopards. Goodrowe Beck holds a Ph.D. in reproductive biology.

Having a robust population of Clouded Leopards in zoos allows scientists to study the species’ behavior, physiology and medical conditions. That’s not possible in the wild, Goodrowe Beck said. But the information gained may one day help scientists develop conservation strategies for helping the species in the wild.

Maintaining Clouded Leopard populations in zoos allows animals like Sang Dao and Tien – and their cubs – to inspire people to take action on behalf of wildlife and wild places.

The Point Defiance Zoo’s “Paws for the Cause” program, meanwhile, helps consumers understand the link between some foods they eat, products they use and the deforestation of animal habitat half a world away.

The program also provides shoppers with tips on choosing products with deforestation-free palm oil and ways to get engaged by urging companies to make wildlife friendly choices in the raw materials they buy.

Palm oil, used in a wide variety of goods from candy to shampoo and body lotion to laundry soap, is derived from the oil palm tree. And some palm oil production results in wholesale destruction of the habitat on which Clouded Leopards, Orangutans, Tigers, Tapirs and other animals depend.

To learn more about this and how to take action, go to: www.pdza.org/pawsforthecause.

To learn more about Clouded Leopards, go to: www.pdza.org/clouded-leopard and www.cloudedleopard.org.

Tacoma zookeepers founded the nonprofit Clouded Leopard Project 15 years ago (www.cloudedleopard.org). The group works closely with the Zoo and The Zoo Society in fundraising efforts for conservation projects.

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