Saturday, April 4, 2009

"Big" cats

I used to have a cat and the only time he was interested in the TV was during a nature program when baby tigers were climbing all over the mama tiger. He pawed at the screen like he wanted to join in! When two rare clouded leopards were born at the National Zoo's Conservation and Research Center on March 24th, their keepers had to separate them from their parents to prevent the tendency of their mother "Jao Chu" to harm or kill them. Born weighing only a 1/2-lb., they will weigh 30-50 lbs. as adults, but will still be the smallest of the big cats. A baby cheetah born at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park on February 18th weighing in at 408 grams has survived its mother's tendency to abandon or kill it. In addition, the cub's conception marked the first time researchers have used bioacoustics - recordings of a male cheetah's stutter-bark, a sound that is an aphrodisiac that triggers female ovulation - to entice the parents to mate.

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