Tripura: In-situ conservation of clouded leopard sees success after 12 years, two new big cats join Sepahijala zoo
Two cubs of clouded leopard at Sepahijala zoo

Agartala: After a prolonged 12 years of wait, the in-situ conservation and breeding program of the clouded leopards in Sepahijala Zoo sees success in the form of two new addition of big cats in the family. There are now a total of ten clouded leopards in the zoo after counting the recent addition of the cubs.

Chief Wildlife Warden, Pravin Agarwal, described this development as a big success for the Sepahijala Zoo as well as the wildlife sanctuary. He said, “The leopard cubs were handed over to the zoo authorities on Thursday after all the necessary procedures. Both the cubs are healthy and they are adjusting well.”

District Forest Officer of Sepahijala, Pritam Bhattacharjee, said, “The in-situ breeding program was first undertaken in 2010. Since then, we have been trying to create a conducive atmosphere for the big cats to breed. Unfortunately, we could achieve little success. This year, the breeding program was successful. Of the two cubs we received, one is male and the other is female.”

The female cub was named Julekha and the male cub was named Antarip. “They were hand-reared for 4 months from the age of 2 days in Sepahijala Biological Complex,” the DFO added. 

Bhattacharjee said the newborns that are united with their families in the zoo took the total tally of the leopards to 10. “There are 3 females and seven male leopards now. In zoos, the birth of a female cub is a rare incident. The entire medical team has worked relentlessly to turn this breeding program into a big success. The cubs are now four months old and they have evolved with the atmosphere of the zoo,” said Bhattacharjee.

Apart from clouded leopards, such special conservation programs for spectacled lagoor and pig-tailed macaque are also underway. The population of both endangered animals have also increased significantly in the last couple of years, an official of the Tripura forest department said.                                           

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