Sri Lanka cubs visible at last!
Born on May 27th the two cubs have been going out of their night cage for a couple of weeks and can now be seen by the visitors.
This is the second litter of our female who was transferred from Banham Zoo in 2009. The male can be seen outside but he's separated from the female and the cubs in order to avoid any risk of aggression.
While in 2012 the female had been quickly separated from her first cubs during a few minutes to identify their sex, this year she refused to be isolated even for a short time. The vets haven't been able to check the cubs, so we do not know their sex yet. Aged 2-months old, they are healthy and well-protected by their mother!
The European population of Sri Lanka leopards (Panthera pardus kotiya) gathers nearly 60 individuals spread over about 20 institutions. Only found in Sri Lanka, this subspecies is listed "endangered" on the IUCN Red List. Its overall population is believed to range between 700 to 950 individuals. This interval is due to the fact that some forests located in the north of the island are inaccessible because of armed conflicts. This prevents researchers to do surveys and confirm the presence of leopards, even if it is believed that these jungles are home to the species.
Leopards are found in Africa and Asia. Because of their broad geographic distribution, these predators are able to live in almost every type of habitat: semi-desertic and arid zones, savannahs, tropical rainforests, mountains. They feed on a wide variety of prey, ranging in size from small birds to zebras and wildebeest. African leopards living in rainforests often hunt primates which represent 25% of prey items in their diet.
Females generally give birth to two cubs that are hidden in rocky outcrops or thick bushes. The cubs start to travel with their mother when they are about three months old and they are able to catch their first preys at about 7-8 months of age. They are independent at 18 months but will disperse on new territories only several months later.