It’s always a special moment when a new animal is born — there’s nothing cuter than a newborn baby animal. But it’s even better news when the newborn is a member of a rare, at-risk species: each new birth is good news for their survival.
Now, one zoo is celebrating the birth of a clouded leopard kitten, which is being called a “significant birth” for a “vulnerable species.”
On Friday, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden announced that their clouded leopard Rukai gave birth to a male kitten on July 18, following a 90-day gestation period, according to a release from the zoo.
The clouded leopard has been listed as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List since 2008. The species is threatened by large-scale habitat loss due to deforestation and the illegal wildlife trade. They are locally extinct in areas including Singapore and Taiwan.
The Oklahoma City Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan for clouded leopards. This marks their first clouded leopard arrival of 2023, and they called it a “significant birth.”
“Immediately following the kitten’s birth, the Zoo’s carnivore carnivore caretakers stepped in and began providing round-the-clock care for this little cloudie,” the zoo wrote on Facebook.
“Caretakers report the kitten is healthy and doing everything a newborn should be doing – eating, sleeping and growing!” they added.
They explained that the newborn kitten will eventually be brought to another accredited zoo to continue the careful repopulation of this rare species.
“As the kitten continues to grow strong, he will be making his way to another AZA-accredited facility to be another important ambassador for his species and hopefully have little cloudies of his own one day!”
The newborn’s father is JD; he and Rukai previously gave birth to another kitten in 2021.
What a beautiful newborn and great news for this at-risk species! Please share this incredible news if you love animals! ❤️