Animals

UPDATE: Leopard Cub Gets a Name and a New Friend

Watching these two play is like watching kittens! When they'll be outside for you to see.


The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium announced the name of its clouded leopard cub Wednesday and introduced the cub's new companion, a cub from Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Kansas that also needed a friend.

The Pittsburgh Zoo's cub is named Rukai. The Zoo's Facebook page says she's named for an indigenous tribe of people in Taiwan who revere the clouded leopards as the spirits of their ancestors. The companion cub, another female, is named Kansas. "We kept calling her 'the baby from Kansas' and the name kind of stuck," said Karen Vacco Assistant Mammal Curator, as she introduced the cubs to the media. You've gotta see this -- so cute:

If you remember from our previous story , Rukai had to be taken from her mother after keepers saw she wasn't nursing, and since then they have been hand raising her. Little Kansas, who was born a few days before Rukai, was also being hand raised and they are considered perfect companions because of their age, size and gender.

Rukai has had only human companions since she was born.

They may be wild animals, but as you can see from the video, they behave a lot like house cats, going places the keepers try to get them not to go. The cubs are "very kitten like and the adults have all of the attitude of your cat at home," Vacco told reporters. "They pretty much dictate their day." Typical cat!

"This was a huge step, getting a companion for Rukai and having them bond together." Karen Vacco, Asst. Mammal Curator

The next step will be getting the cubs some playtime outside in the Clouded Leopard exhibit at the Islands. That will happen as soon as they learn how to climb and get down from the netting over the exhibit. When they're ready to be on outside display, times will be posted on the Zoo's website .

(Images and video: Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium Facebook page )

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