Rare Leopard Cubs Born at Zoo
Twins are DC Zoo's first clouded leopard babies in 16 years
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2009 11:09 AM CDT
A clouded leopard rests in its enclosure at the National Zoo. Two of the rare animals live at the zoo; the other 14, including the new cubs, stay at a nearby research center.   (©Carly & Art)
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(Newser) – The National Zoo just got a tiny bit cuter with the birth of two rare clouded leopard cubs at its conservation center, the Washington Post reports. The babies are the first of their endangered species, called ghost leopards for their blurry black-and-tan spots, born at the zoo in 16 years. They were quickly taken from their mother; females in captivity often kill their cubs accidentally or intentionally.

Zoo officials weren't positive that Jao Chu was pregnant until a few days ago when she turned down a snack of dead mice. Since retrieving the cubs, a team has been feeding them with bottles and keeping them incubated. Since their genes come from outside the US captive leopard population, the babies are seen as an invaluable addition to their species.