On March 1st something truly amazing happened. For the first time in recorded history, a Clouded leopard cub was born from the process of artificial insemination. The announcement was delivered by both the Smithsonian National Zoo and the Nashville Zoo who worked in concert to find alternative solutions to protect the vulnerable population. Clouded leopards have a difficult time breeding in captivity due to a poor understanding of their mating rituals. Outside of zoos their numbers are diminished by large scale deforestation and poaching. This birth shows the viability of new options scientific exploration has opened up over the last decade. It serves as a small but important step in saving a species damaged by human interference.
Some of the cub’s first moments were captured for posterity.