Leopard cubs due at Point Defiance Zoo in March

Feb 22, 2012

More endangered clouded leopards will be born at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in the next few weeks.

Mama leopard Chai Li is pregnant with her second litter. She's due in March.

Chai Li surprised zoo officials last year when she secretly mated with breeding partner Nah Fun. She delivered two healthy cubs in June.

This time around, it's a planned pregnancy. Staffers believe she's carrying at least two cubs.

The rare leopards live in the Zoo's new $1 million Cats of the Canopy exhibit.

Thousands of visitors viewed Chai Li's first cubs last year. The cubs have since been matched to breeding partners at other zoos.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is one of only three zoos in the country that are breeding clouded leopards as part of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ clouded leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP®).

The SSP oversees clouded leopard populations in zoos worldwide and makes breeding recommendations based on the genetics of each cat. 

The clouded leopards are native to Thailand, where massive clear-cutting for palm oil plantations has reduced their habitat.

It's unknown how many clouded leopards still exist in the wild. The elusive cats are difficult to study.

There are fewer than 65 clouded leopards in 24 accredited North American zoos.