(Pittsburgh) (May 2019)—The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s two-month-old clouded leopard cub has a new name – and a new companion!
The cub’s new name is Rukai. Rukai is one of the six indigenous tribes of Taiwan. This tribe honors the clouded leopard who they believe is the spirit of their ancestors and safeguards their tribe. She was named by the Florence Boyer Foundation.
In addition to a new name, Rukai also has a new companion, named Kansas. Kansas was born at the Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Kansas and arrived at the Pittsburgh Zoo last week.
Rukai and Kansas were paired together after Pittsburgh Zoo staff determined that Rukai would need to be hand raised.
Rukai was born to mom Saya last month. While Saya was attentive to her cub, staff noticed that the cub wasn’t nursing on her own. After more than 24 hours of not nursing, keepers and staff decided to step in and the difficult decision was made to hand raise her.
The Pittsburgh Zoo immediately began contacting other zoos in hopes of finding a companion for Rukai. Fortunately, Tanganyika Wildlife Park had a single female cub who was born four days after Rukai and also needed a companion. Kansas arrived at the Pittsburgh Zoo and spent a couple days in quarantine before keepers introduced the pair.
“We breathed a big sigh of relief when Rukai and Kansas responded well to each other right away. This is the best scenario for both cubs,” says Karen Vacco, Assistant Curator of Mammals. “Kansas is a little bigger than Rukai but Rukai is a tough little girl and is holding her own.”
Once the cubs get more acclimated to each other and their new surroundings, we will be scheduling play time in the Clouded Leopard exhibit at the Islands.
Clouded leopards are listed as endangered, with fewer than 10,000 left in the wild.
The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is American Humane Conservation-certified, a member of American Humane, and a member of the Zoological Association of America. For more information, visit zaa.org.