Sunny Days, Clouded Leopards
Naples Zoo is proud to be the home of two rare juvenile clouded leopards. This breeding pair of leopards were specifically matched and sent to Naples Zoo as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan® (SSP). The SSP is a cooperatively managed breeding program that works to create sustainable populations of threatened and endangered species. The clouded leopards made their grand debut to the public on Saturday, December 10, 2016.
Masala is a male from Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington. Tika is a female and she came to Naples Zoo from a private facility in Kansas. The SSP specifically paired these two for the long-term genetic viability of the population. Clouded leopards are paired before they are a year old and remain in that pairing for their lifetime. Generally, they do not begin breeding before their second year.
On February 22, 2019, the SSP was successful, as Tika gave birth to two female clouded leopard kittens. The adorable kittens were named Jean and Janet, selected for an anonymous donor that supported the clouded leopard exhibit and Glass Animal Hospital. The kittens made their grand debut to the public on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. Jean and Janet will be on exhibit daily from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm and they will be featured in the Seated Safari Show daily at 2:30 pm. To add to the excitement of Naples Zoo guests getting to meet the new kittens, the Zoo is offering free admission to anyone named Jean or Janet during the month of May.
Clouded leopards are listed as endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the United States Endangered Species Act. The species is under significant pressure in the wild from human encroachment and destruction of its habitat, as well as poaching. The cats, which live in the forests and trees of Southeast Asia, are elusive, and it’s difficult to know how many remain in the wild.
Save Leopards? There’s an App for That: While viewing the new cats, guests will also learn how our choices at the grocery store can help clouded leopards. That’s because about half the packaged products in our shopping carts contain palm oil – from toothpaste and soap to chocolate and crackers. Sustainably grown, palm oil allows rare wildlife to keep their forest homes. But some companies still buy palm oil from plantations that clear-cut and burn rainforests contributing to the direct and indirect deaths of untold numbers of both endangered species and people. An easy-to-use, free app linked from www.napleszoo.org/palmoil enables consumers to support the many products that line up with their ethics.