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Miami zoo announces birth of clouded leopard kittens

Danielle Garrand

Zoo Miami announced the birth of two adorable clouded leopard kittens Tuesday. The park also shared sweet photos of the cubs, which showcased their large eyes and speckled fur. 

The kittens were born February 11, but have been "secluded" with their mother in a den to "avoid any external stress and allow proper bonding," according to a tweet from the Florida zoo.

On Tuesday, the kittens were separated to receive their initial vaccines and for the zoo to confirm they are "developing well," according to a press release. The zoo said the kittens "appear to be thriving" and their mother "continues to be attentive."

The kittens were born to mother Serai and father Rajasi, according to the release. Their birth marks the second successful litter for both parents.

Zoo Miami is excited to announce the successful births of highly endangered clouded leopards. The two kittens were born on February 11th and have been secluded in a den with their mother since then to avoid any external stress and allow proper bonding. 📸:@RonMagill pic.twitter.com/R4yhDe6dlc

— Zoo Miami (@zoomiami) April 7, 2020

The zoo, which has been closed since March 19 due to the coronavirus pandemic, also noted that it is taking extra precautions around the young animals due to the disease. 

"With the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent revelation that a tiger had contracted the disease at another zoological facility, extra care is being taken by all staff working around these kittens," the zoo said. "New procedures include stepping into disinfecting footbaths prior to entering any feline area as well as using masks and gloves while working in those areas."

The zoo's communications director and goodwill ambassador, Ron Magill, is credited with taking photos of the kittens. He posted additional photos on his personal Facebook page Tuesday.

"Both of the kittens (girl and a boy) are growing and thriving!" he wrote. "Hopefully, when this horrible pandemic runs its course, the public will be able to return to the zoo to see these beautiful animals in person!"

The clouded leopard is listed as "vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. In the wild, the cats reside in forests in southern China, Taiwan and Malaysia, according to Zoo Miami's press release. Adult cats typically weigh 30 to 50 pounds and consume a diet of birds and mammals. The species is believed to be in decline as a result of habitat loss and poaching, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Here are some images that I took of our endangered clouded leopard kittens that were born back on Feb. 11th. The first...

Posted by Ron Magill on Tuesday, April 7, 2020

In related news, a cheetah named Echo residing at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia, gave birth to a litter of four cubs Wednesday, The Smithsonian's National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute announced on their website.

The cubs' sexes are not yet known, as the animal care staff is allowing Echo time to "bond with and care for her cubs without interference," according to the Institute. Those interested in getting a peek at the cubs can head over to the zoo's website — and observe them via a live webcam

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