Pangolins, hornbills, and baby monkeys, unfortunate as it is, these are species that our forest rangers are used to rescuing from poachers. So, when our team set out on their patrol on the 21st of March, they did not expect to find these two tiny fluff balls discarded in the forest after disturbing a poacher who was likely on their way to sell them. At roughly two weeks old, they are the only clouded leopard cubs that we have ever rescued in the 22 years that we have been operating in Cambodia. When they arrived with our expert nursery keepers at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, they were so young that their vision hadn’t fully developed yet, still tiny and wobbly and should still have been hidden away somewhere only their mom would know.
The second best place for the cubs after being with their mom has got to be under the care of our keepers in the nursery at the rescue center. Wildlife Rescue and Care Director, Nick Marx, gained a lot of expertise raising big cats during his career in England, and combined with the nursery keepers who are so dedicated, the cubs had the best chance possible.
Cloudie feeding time
This has been proven ever since day one, when the cubs were initially introduced to the bottles, to a few weeks in, when they were so strong that the keepers needed to wear gloves during the feeds to protect their hands from their claws, right up until now, when they are boisterously playing with each other and ready to graduate from the nursery.
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Unfortunately, due to being rescued at such a young age, these beautiful female clouded leopards are not suitable for release into the wild. It was impossible for them not to imprint on their keepers after being bottle fed from only 14 days old. However, we have hope that they can still benefit their species by being ambassadors to the public at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center. We also hope that we will be able to initiate a breeding program with them and release their offspring back into the wild in the years to come. The search is already underway to find facilities to coordinate with that have some suitable males.
Those who follow us closely know that we already have two adult clouded leopards called Evening and Popork. Find out what they are up to through our animal sponsorship program.