LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin's Ellen Trout Zoo recently welcomed two new animals to the fold.
A young pair of endangered clouded leopards have arrived at the Ellen Trout Zoo.
According to Gordon Henley, the director of the Ellen Trout Zoo, the two clouded leopard cubs will be on display for the public "to see, learn about, and connect with" on Saturday, Oct. 1.
"Clouded Leopards are a medium sized wild cat native to the dense forests of Southeast Asia," Henley said. "These illusive cats are threatened by habitat loss and by being killed for their beautiful skins."
Henley said the two clouded leopards came to the zoo through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan for clouded leopards.
"They are still very young, but it is hoped that after they settle in and grow some, they will be producing cubs furthering the zoo's ability to connect our guest with those wonderful animals in the wild and wild places.," Henley said.
Zoo Collection Manager Angela Bonato said these leopards both made long journeys to get here.
"One was raised in Washington at Point Defiance Zoo and the other came from Kansas at Tanganyika and they were both hand reared and then sent out to us just about their 6 moth birthday" Bonato said.
They may be from different parts of the country, but you'd never be able to tell from the way they interact.
"From the time we got them, immediately they wanted to be together and so we introduced them very quickly and basically you'd never be able to tell that they weren't raised together. They're best friends." Bonato said.
Best friends whose names are Indie due the male's curious personality and Saffron the female who loves to climb.
"She is the climber, once he goes and checks it out and everything's fine she will climb all over the place it doesn't matter where it is, all over, she's the expert." Bonato said.
The cubs are also a great genetic match.
"They're recommended to come to us from the SSP which is the Species Survival Plan and that's basically where they go through and look at species that are endangered and they genetically check them and decide which match ups would be best as far as breeding in the future." Bonato said.
The Zoo is excited to have these stunning creatures here and ready to share them with the public.
"Clouded leopards are not something you see in every zoo and they're very elusive in the wild, so you won't have the opportunity to see them like you would a lion in Africa" Bonato said.
The Ellen Trout Zoo is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It's an accredited member of the AZA.