In a birth announcement of sorts, the Smithsonian National Zoo and the Nashville Zoo released a joint statement Thursday saying that a male clouded leopard cub was born on March 1. The cub is the first of his species to be born from artificial insemination using frozen (and then thawed) semen.
Clouded leopards have difficulty reproducing outside of their natural habitat and have been listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species since 2008.
Tweets from the two zoos have been greeted with delight. The day-old cub has been declared "adorable" — but he is also important, according to the scientists at The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
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