PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium’s two clouded leopard cubs have officially been named.
Zookeepers introduced Rukai and Kansas to the public Wednesday morning at The Islands exhibit.
The tiny cubs played, romped and pounced during the play session and news conference at 11 a.m.
WATCH: Full News Conference —
Rukai was born at the Pittsburgh Zoo on March 14 to mom Saya and dad Pi. However, zookeepers are now hand raising her because she was not nursing properly from her mother.
Because of that, the zoo determined they wanted to find a companion for Rukai. That’s where the Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Kansas came in.
They had a clouded leopard cub being hand raised nearly the same age as Rukai, and the zoos agreed to put them together.
The new cub arrived late last week. She was quarantined for a few days, then the two were introduced.
“We breathed a big sigh of relief when Rukai and Kansas responded well to each other right away. This is the best scenario for both cubs. Kansas is a little bigger than Rukai but Rukai is a tough little girl and is holding her own,” Karen Vacco, the assistant mammal curator at the Pittsburgh Zoo, said.
The zoo has named the cub after her home state of Kansas.
“Rukai was named by one of our board members and it was from the Florence Foundation,” said Vacco “So, along with Rukai, this baby did not have a name when she came to us. We kept calling her the baby from Kansas, so our baby and the baby from Kansas, so the name kind of stuck. So our newest baby, her name is Kansas.”
According to the zoo, “Rukai is one of the six indigenous tribes of Taiwan.” The tribe is known for its reverence of the clouded leopard.
The zoo says clouded leopards are listed as endangered. There are fewer than 10,000 left in the wild.
In hopes of educating the public more about leopards, the zoo will be scheduling playtime for the cubs at The Islands exhibit as they become more acclimated to one another.