Nashville Zoo in the United States has made a breakthrough in conservation with the incredible birth of a clouded leopard cub.
However, this was no straightforward birth, as it involved a scientific intervention.
The project, run in conjunction with the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, saw frozen semen used to conceive the cub. The semen was collected at the Smithsonian Zoo and then thawed in Nashville.
Clouded leopards are native to the Himalayas and other parts of China and South East Asia, but are considered vulnerable by the IUCN.
The beautifully-patterned cats are estimated to number fewer than 10 000 adults throughout its range.
With this breakthrough at the zoo, conservation prospects for this leopard and other species are looking up.
The project is part of an ongoing initiative by both zoos to conserve the species.
“Collaboration is the key to conservation of clouded leopards, along with so many other rare and endangered species we care for and study,” says Dr Adrienne Crosier of the Smithsonian Zoo.
You can watch a video on the cub’s birth right here: