A rare clouded leopard cub born March 7 at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has reached the “terrible twos” (two-months, that is). “Mowgli,” named after the main character in “The Jungle Book,” is growing up fast.
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TAMPA, Fla. (MAY 8, 2015) — A rare clouded leopard cub born March 7 at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has reached the “terrible twos” (two-months, that is). “Mowgli,” named after the main character in “The Jungle Book,” is growing up fast.
Now weighing in at 6 pounds with a full set of baby teeth, Mowgli has made the transition from a bottle to a meat-based baby food diet, which he enjoys making into a meal and a mess. His motor skills are progressing as well -- running, jumping, pouncing and starting to climb.
While the Zoo’s veterinary professionals will continue to provide round-the-clock care under industry protocols, Mowgli is ready for the next step in his care.
Starting Saturday, May 9, Mowgli’s outdoor playtime will move to a temporary enclosure to help keep him safe while he practices all of his new motor skills. The Zoo’s staff will continue to supervise his every move, but will work to scale back on handling to promote greater independence. The enclosure will also help him make the adjustment to a permanent habitat in the future.
For the near term, public viewing will continue at 11 a.m. in the new location. A rotation through different environments provides essential sensory enrichment for continued development. Allowing guests to observe the cub at play provides an educational opportunity to communicate the needs and perils of this rare and vulnerable species.
Mowgli’s parents “Yim” (male) and “Malee“ (female) live at the Zoo and are on exhibit in together the Asian Gardens habitat area. The male cub is their first offspring.
Clouded leopards are the smallest of the “big cats,” weighing 30- 60 pounds in adulthood and measuring about five feet long (including the long tail). Native to Southeast Asia, clouded leopards are found in forests and rainforests. They are known as shy and reclusive cats. As a forest-dependent species, the leopard’s native range is undergoing the world's fastest regional deforestation rates. High levels of hunting and poaching also make the species vulnerable to extinction.
For more than a decade, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has been a member of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan, a conservation program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The Zoo has also supported a conservation research program known as WildAid -- the Thailand Carnivore Project, a non-invasive study of Thailand’s wild cats including the clouded leopard.