Clouded leopard sisters arrive at Shepreth Wildlife Park
A pair of clouded leopards whose arrival at Shepreth Wildlife Park was delayed by the pandemic have finally arrived at their new home.
The park team first discussed bringing in this species over 12 months ago, but the sudden negative impact of COVID-19 on this conservation centre meant all plans were put on hold.
The renovated enclosure remained empty for several months until the team secured a separate grant from a Cambridge company which allowed the clouded leopard move to take place.
After securing funds and following several weeks of planning, the leopoards arrived last week from The Netherlands. Born at Ouwehands Zoo as part of a breeding programme helping to safeguard healthy populations for the future, the clouded leopards will now reside at Shepreth Wildlife Park for the next few years.
The clouded leopard arrivals comprise two sisters Angin and Kilat; which mean ‘wind’ and ‘lightening’ in Indonesian. Nearly two years old, these healthy, young cats will stay together until one is ultimately transferred to be paired up, making room for a new male at Shepreth for the breeding programme to continue in both locations.
The clouded leopard, smallest of the big cats, is secretive and rare in the wild. It’s infamously known as the ‘saber-toothed cat’, for having the longest upper canine teeth for its skull size of any modern carnivore.
Clouded leopards face many threats in their native home of South East Asia, including loss of habitat, poaching for its skin, bone and meat and the illegal pet trade. Due to its elusive nature, it’s not known how many remain in the wild, however, its population is on a decline and it’s estimated there are fewer than 10,000 left. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
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Visitors to Shepreth will see Angin and Kilat on show at the Wildlife Walk. They may take a few weeks to gain confidence in their new surroundings, so for now keepers have been setting night-vision camera traps, so they can get a sneak peak of what they’re getting up to when it’s dark.
Information on the Wildlife Walk and how to support Shepreth Wildlife Park and its animals during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at: https://sheprethwildlifepark.co.uk/product/wildlife-walk-ticket-2/