handsome animal is the most agile of the "big cats", and
has a wide distribution. It is found throughout tropical Africa
and Asia, while black or melanistic forms occur in Malay. Its dappled
coat with rosettes gives it a striking appearance in a zoo habitat,
but it can easily be imagined how this protective coloration makes
it very hard to see among the foliage in its natural haunts. The
leopard is a danderous animal in every way, and although it preys
mainly on goat, deer, birds etc., it will attack man readily. It
has a special appetite for dogs. The black leopard, commonly called
"Black Panther," is invariably more savage than the spotted
very significant species we used to devote an enormous amount of
thought and effort into the management of was the Clouded leopard.
The Zoological Society of Glasgow and West of Scotland was its national
and European coordinator. Thanks to the work of our staff, we learned
a great deal.
the small cats we hosted were Geoffroy's cats, margays and ocelots.
We bred multiple litters of Geoffroy's cats, and in 1983 received
an award from the Federation of Zoological Gardens of Great Britain
and Ireland for the first breeding of this species in a UK zoo.
We also received a Good Husbandry award for the work of the keepers
in saving the life of the mother. She endured a breech birth of
two kittens, one and a half hours apart, and both trapped by the
elbow, requiring the most delicate manual assistance. Our vets informed
us that the chances of this happening twice in one lifetime to a
cat, never mind twice in the same litter, were one in a million!
Geoffroy's cats and ocelots, small spotted casts from South America,
both have litters of two or three kittens. The margay from the same
continent, usually has just one kitten. Our margays were managed
cooperatively, with our animals being shared between Chester, Glasgow
and Edinburgh Zoos.
stimulate reproductive behaviour, some off-exhibit holding enclosures
were constructed. These were designed to be over four metres in
height to provide plenty of sight lines for the small cats. They
were inquisitive animals, so we felt they would appreciate the opportunity
of observing all that was going on around them.
had some success in breeding them, but with a very low UK population
their future is precarious.
also: Tigers , Lions
The Africat Foundation aims to conserve the big cats of Africa.
In 1823, the 10th Duke of Hamilton had a gardener's store converted
to a den, with a run, for his Palace Leopard. The restored "Leopard
House" can be seen as part of South Lanarkshire Council's Chatelherault