The pair of day-old clouded leopard cubs during one of their feedings, which occur every three hours.
Born at the National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Va on Tuesday, March 24, the two cubs are the first to be born at the Center in 16 years.
Breeding clouded leopards in captivity has been a challenge, primarily due to male aggression, decreased breeding activity between paired animals, and high cub mortality.
The National Zoo's team has learned how to reduce the risk of fatal attacks by hand-rearing cubs for socialization and also introducing males to their mates when they are six months old, allowing the pair to grow up together.
Clouded leopards Hannibal and Jao Chu, the parents of these cubs and the only compatible pair of clouded leopards at CRC, are proof that these techniques work. The new cubs are being hand-reared by experienced CRC staff.
Photo Credit: Jessie Cohen/ Smithsonian's National Zoo