OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden has announced the birth of a bouncing baby boy!
The OKC Zoo’s female clouded leopard, Rukai, gave birth to a male kitten on Tuesday, July 18, following an approximate 90-day gestation period.
OKC Zoo officials say because this is such a significant birth and the first birth of 2023 for this vulnerable species, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA’s) Species Survival Plan recommended the Zoo’s animal care experts hand-rear the kitten to ensure he thrives.
Immediately following the kitten’s birth, the Zoo’s carnivore caretakers stepped in and began providing round-the-clock care for this little cub.
“Caretakers report the kitten is healthy and doing everything a newborn should be doing – eating, sleeping and growing!” said OKC Zoo. “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!”
Clouded leopards inhabit dense forests from the foothills of the Himalayas through Northeast India and Bhutan to mainland Southeast Asia into South China.
The species has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 2008. The population is threatened by large–scale deforestation and commercial poaching for the wildlife trade. Its body parts are offered for decoration and clothing, though it is legally protected in most range countries.
Find Rukai and the rest of the clouded leopard family in the zoo’s Cat Forest!
Learn more and buy your tickets on the OKC Zoo website.