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Zoo News Blog

Understanding Hand-Raising

Our hospital and carnivore keepers are busy caring for the tiny pair of clouded leopards around-the-clock to ensure they receive the best care possible and have the greatest chance at survival for this incredibly rare species.

Wondering why? Decisions to hand-raise animals are not made lightly. Our keeper’s knowledge of the mother’s temperament is taken into careful consideration, among other circumstances. Clouded leopards are a predatory species, and this technique prevents the risk of parental predation or neglect, which is common for clouded leopards and happens in the wild. Hand-raising also allows us to match the individual cubs with a designated mate at an early age to allow for more successful breeding pairs, increasing genetic diversity, which maintains strong populations and protects this species from extinction.