MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Zoo Miami is celebrating their newest addition—two highly endangered clouded leopard cubs.
The March 13th birth of the kittens is the first successful of clouded leopards at the zoo.
The two female kittens have been secluded in a den with their mother since then to avoid any external stress and to allow the new mother to properly bond with her young.
The mother, named "Serai," was born May of 2011 at the Smithsonian's Conservation and Research Center in Virginia. The kittens' father, named "Rajasi," was born in March of 2011 at the Nashville Zoo in Tennessee. This is the first successful litter for both parents.
The Zoo staff was able to separate the mother from her cubs for the first time since their birth in order to do a neonatal exam for evaluation of the kittens and to accurately determine their sexes.
Both offspring are thriving and their mother continues to be attentive and is nursing them on a regular basis.
The mother and her young will remain off exhibit for the next several weeks until zoo staff determines they are established and stable enough to face the public.
Clouded leopards are a very secretive cat found in forests within Southern China, Taiwan, and Malaysia. Adults usually weigh between 30 and 50 pounds and they have a very long tail with relatively short legs and large paws to facilitate their frequent arboreal lifestyle. Their diet includes a variety of birds and mammals including monkeys, deer, and porcupines.
They are highly endangered over most of their range due to hunting for their attractive pelts which have ceremonial value in a variety of cultures.
The clouded leopard cubs aren't the only new additions to Zoo Miami, a female lioness, "Kashifa," has successfully delivered four cubs which she is presently caring for also in a secluded den behind the lion exhibit.
The cubs, born March 6th, are believed to be 3 males and one female.
Due to the extreme sensitivity in this area, and the recent loss of Kashifa's sister Asha, only the area's essential animal science staff has access to the holding facility.
Mother and cubs will remain secluded until further notice in order to maintain as stress-free an environment as possible.