PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The clouded leopard cub at Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is growing up fast and now has a new playmate.
The zoo recently welcomed JD, a young male clouded leopard, as a companion for Rukai.
JD comes to Pittsburgh from the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. At first the two leopards were cautious, but zookeepers say they were soon playing together in their indoor play area.
In a news release, Assistant Curator of Mammals Karen Vacco said: “We were thrilled to see how fast they accepted each other. The next step is to introduce the pair to the outside yard.”
Because of JD’s arrival, Rukai’s first companion, Kansas, has been sent back to her original home at Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Kansas.
“This is the best scenario for all three cubs,” Vacco said. “Kansas now will be able to be with a new mate back in Tanganyika Wildlife Park, and we’re hopeful that JD and Rukai will continue to be a perfect match.”
The Pittsburgh and Nashville zoos say they hope by introducing Rukai and JD at such a young age that they’ll grow up together as companions and “hopefully reproduce once they are older.”
The zoo says there are less than 10,000 clouded leopards left in the wild, and they are listed as endangered.