Clouded Leopard Cubs at the Nashville Zoo: 615 Insider with Lindsey Nance

by Chris Haney
(via Outsider/615 Insider)

This week on 615 Insider, host Lindsey Nance is taking a special visit to the Nashville Zoo to spend some time with baby clouded leopards. Nance learns about the animals while getting to interact with a couple of cubs. Plus, she learns about the zoo’s conservation work with leopards and much more during the episode.

The popular zoo in Music City is part of two clouded leopard conservation organizations that were formed to help preserve the future of the endangered species. The zoo works closely with the Clouded Leopard Consortium and is also part of the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan. Both are working to give clouded leopards a better chance of survival as a species. Especially since they’re one of the rarest cat species in the world and one of the most elusive.

Experts have a limited range of knowledge when it comes to clouded leopards. They’re found in South and Southeast Asia in countries like Nepal, India, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Thailand. But they’re secretive creatures who experts have had difficulty with when it comes to increasing their population.

Since they’re sensitive to auditory and visual disturbances, the leopards aren’t easy to breed in captivity. They’ve proven to have increased levels of stress during captive breeding programs. That’s why the Nashville Zoo and other leading facilities are working with artificial insemination specialists to help improve and expand the size of the captive bred population.

Courtney, the clouded leopards’ handler at the Nashville Zoo, shares that and much more with host Lindsey Nance on this week’s episode of 615 Insider.

‘615 Insider’ Host Lindsey Nance Learns More About Clouded Leopard Conservation

Lindsey got introduced to two clouded leopard cubs that she had the chance to meet with and interact with in-person at the Nashville Zoo. The cubs’ handler, Courtney, shared that the two young babies were only 77 days old at the time of filming. Both the male and female leopards we’re visiting with on 615 Insider are from the same litter.

“One of the things we do is that the SSP board tells us who should breed with who,” Courtney explains on 615 Insider. “And we go ahead and put those cats together and make these beautiful babies to help save the species around the world.”

Nance asked about the handling process as the baby leopards bounced around the room playing with each other and our host. Yet as cute as they are, they’re still wild animals. So they can get a bit mouthy at times despite their adorable looks.

“So obviously they are very cute and adorable, but they are leopards. They are wild animals,” their handler shared. “If they do come over and decide that they want to maybe test a hand or a foot or something, we just redirect them and show them [these toys]. This is okay to bite, humans not so much.”

For those that may want to reach out and help with clouded leopard conservation, you can always become a member of the Nashville Zoo. Funds raised through ticket and membership sales always aid the zoo’s conservation work.

“These guys are losing their habitat,” Courtney added. “That’s one of the reasons that we have them in captivity is that there no longer really is a place for them in the wild. We’re trying to save them so that other generations will be able to see them.”

That does it for this week’s episode of 615 Insider with host Lindsey Nance. For more information on the species and to find out more about the Zoo’s conservation work, visit the Nashville Zoo’s Clouded Leopard Conservation page on their official website.