Four newborn clouded leopard cubs at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium haven’t yet opened their eyes but are hungrily sucking formula from tiny bottles.
The endangered cats were born May 12 to mother Chai Li and father Nah Fun. The cubs have not been named and are not yet on exhibit.
Zookeepers are hand-feeding the quadruplets about every three hours from bottles the size of an eye dropper. The process takes about two hours.
The smallest cat weighs 11.11 ounces and the largest weighs 12.41 ounces. Two cubs can fit into the palms of a zookeeper’s hands. Their genders were not known.
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“They are eating and gaining weight,” said biologist Andy Goldfarb, who has spent three decades working with exotic cats.
He and Karen Goodrowe Beck, the zoo’s general curator, periodically travel to Thailand to work with zookeepers at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo, southeast of Bangkok, on a collaborative breeding project for clouded leopards.
Fewer than 100 of the cats live in accredited North American zoos. The number living in the wild is unknown because the leopards are shy and elusive.
Point Defiance Zoo now has 11 clouded leopards, including the new quadruplets.