Cuteness alert: Zoo Miami shows off clouded leopard kittens

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In this Feb. 26, 2020 photo made available by ZooMiami, newborn clouded leopards are held by a staff member for their neonatal exams at the zoo in Miami. Clouded Leopards are found in forests within Southern China, Taiwan and Malaysia and are highly endangered over most of their range due to hunting. (Ron Magill/ZooMiami via AP)

MIAMI (AP) — Providing exactly what’s needed in these trying times, Zoo Miami has shared images of two clouded leopard cubs.

The male and female have been secluded in a den with their mother, Serai, since their Feb. 11 birth so that they could properly bond while avoiding external stress, according to a news release from the South Florida zoo.

Zookeepers took the kittens Tuesday to check their development and give them their initial vaccines. Both offspring appear to be thriving, and the mother continues to be attentive and nursing them on a regular basis, officials said.

“Amid all of the stressful news that we are all dealing with, I hope that this can bring a smile to some of your faces!” the zoo’s communications director, Ron Magill, wrote as he shared the images. “Hopefully, once this pandemic has run its course, the public will be able to return to the zoo to personally see these precious new additions!”

Clouded Leopards are highly endangered in their natural forest habitat in Southern China, Taiwan and Malaysia. Adults usually weigh 30-50 pounds (13-23 kilograms). They have a very long tail with relatively short legs and large paws, which helps them stay in trees. Their numbers are depleted due to hunting. Their attractive pelts have ceremonial value in many cultures.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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