By Dan Howlett @DanHowlett85

THIS adorable clouded leopard kitten loves nothing more than a bottle - but is not a huge fan of bath time

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Videographer / Director: Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo
Producer: Dan Howlett, Chloe Browne
Editor: Kyle Waters

 

 

Hear me roar: The adorable unnamed kitten can only manage a squeak at the minute

The three-week-old is now one of only 10,000 clouded leopards left on earth and is being hand reared to prepare him to mate.

The cute kitten, who is yet to be named, weighed only 300 grams at birth but has now more than doubled in size to 810g and has his eyes fully open.

Endangered species: There are only 10,000 clouded leopards in the wild

He can now crawl along on his front legs and should be strong enough to move around on all fours in a couple of weeks.

He can even roar a little – particularly around feeding time – which is every four hours.

Snuggle time: He will be hand reared by zoo keepers until he is three months old

The kitten’s father, Yim, and mother, Malee, also live at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo in Florida and will turn 4-years-old this month.

They were paired as potential mates at six months of age and the male kitten is their first offspring - he will be hand-reared until weaned at around three months old.

Big cat: He could grow to be more than five feet long

Dr Larry Killmar, vice president of animal science and conservation at the zoo, said: “This birth signifies a milestone accomplishment in our conservation programmes at the zoo.

“Species survival programmes for animals like clouded leopards take years of planning, development and staff commitment.

“This kitten will contribute to the long term viability of our conservation efforts within the managed population of these wonderful animals.”

Paws for thought: The zoo are hoping to mate him with a female kitten when he is six months old

Clouded leopards are the smallest of the big cats weighing between 30 and 50 pounds in adulthood and measuring around five feet long.

They are native to Southeast Asia and found in forests and rainforests.

Despite this beautiful kitten being quite at home with his handlers, clouded leopards are known to be shy and reclusive cats who have suffered because of deforestation and poaching.

Deforestation in the tropical regions of Southeast Asia is the most serious threat to the species – their native forests are decreasing at a rate of 10 per cent per year since 1997.

Hear me roar: The adorable unnamed kitten can only manage a squeak at the minute

The clouded leopard is widely hunted for its teeth and decorative pelt and for bones for the traditional Asian medicinal trade.

Their pelts have been reported on sale in markets in China, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal and Thailand.

And like many other big cat species the clouded leopard is often killed as retaliation for killing livestock.

But staff at the zoo are hoping this adorable kitten will breed at six months and help ensure the survival of the species for a little while longer.

Bath time: The leopard kitten loves his bottle but is not a big fan of bath time