Photo from the Naples Zoo
We’d like to tip our hats to the crew over at the Naples Zoo as we begin National Zookeepers Week. This year’s celebration will be extra special as 2019 represents their 100th year as a botanical garden and 50th year as a zoo.
2019 is also the year that two endangered cloud leopards were born at the facility in late February. Guests can now see the two female kittens, Jean and Janet, every day in the Safari Canyon open-air theater show at 2:30 p.m.
Clouded leopards are listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The species is under significant pressure in the wild from human encroachment and destruction of its habitat, as well as poaching. The cats, which live in the forests and trees of Southeast Asia, are elusive, and it’s difficult to know how many remain in the wild.
An interesting note is that the mother and father of the kittens were specifically matched by the Species Survival Plan based on their ancestry, to create the greatest genetic diversity in the population over the next century. The clouded leopards, Tika and Masala, arrived at the Naples Zoo in September of 2016 from two different facilities to contribute to the future of their species.
The Naples Zoo is just about an hour’s drive from Ocean’s Reach and is open 7 days a week (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) from 9:00am – 5:00pm. The zoo is located at 1590 Goodlette Road in Naples.
For more information, call the Zooline at 239-262-5409 or visit napleszoo.org.