Zoo welcomes birth of clouded leopards, first of their kind in Denver

DENVER — The Denver Zoo announced Thursday the birth of two clouded leopard cubs — the first of their kind to be born here.

The cubs, a male and a female, were born March 14, said zoo spokeswoman Tiffany Barnhart.

Zookeepers are going to hand-feed the cubs because their mother was ignoring them, Barnhart said.

“Zookeepers believe this is because first time mother Lisu was hand-raised herself and lacks the experience to rear her own cubs,” she said. “The cubs will remain behind-the-scenes until they grow older.”

Clouded leopards are actually not leopards, but considered a “bridge” between typical big cats like lions and tigers, and the small cats like pumas and lynx.

They are found in Southeast Asia and southern China and live primarily in tropical and subtropical evergreen forests.

Their tawny coats with distinctive “cloud-shaped” dark blotches provide excellent camouflage in their forest habitat, enabling them to stalk prey and also hide from potential predators.

Clouded leopards are considered “vulnerable” due to habitat loss because of deforestation. They are also hunted for their fur and bones, claws and teeth are used in traditional Asian medicine.