Your morning adorable: Clouded leopard cubs make their debut at Paris zoo
Two rare clouded leopard cubs recently made their debut at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris, and their birth is big news as some zoos work hard to conserve the species, considered vulnerable to extinction, through captive breeding programs.
The cubs, both female, are named Pati and Jaya. They were born May 14, but the Jardin des Plantes didn't officially announce their birth to the world until recently. Why now? "After two months, we believe the situation is stable," zoo spokesman Mathieu Dorval told Agence France-Presse. "The little panthers are behaving normally and are putting on weight as expected." They have two older full siblings who were born at the zoo last year.
Clouded leopards are native to southeastern Asia, where they're faced with habitat loss, deforestation and poaching for their impressive pelts. Exactly how many remain in the wild is unknown, though, because the species has a tendency to be reclusive and difficult to find for census-taking purposes. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, an increased number of camera traps placed in recent years through the clouded leopard's range should help to determine just how many members of the species continue to exist in the wild.
The Smithsonian's National Zoo captured headlines last year when a pair of clouded leopard cubs were born there, the first at the zoo in 16 years and the first at any North American zoo in six years.
See more photos and video of the cubs after the jump!
-- Lindsay Barnett