Lifestyle Pets Nashville Zoo Welcomes Clouded Leopard Cub Twins — See Photos The clouded leopard cubs — a male and a female — were born on June 30 at the Nashville Zoo to parents Jewels and Bruce By Amethyst Tate Amethyst Tate Digital News Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on July 7, 2022 04:02PM EDT Share Tweet Pin Email Nashville Zoo has announced the birth of two clouded leopard cubs — one of the Tennessee zoo's signature animals. On Wednesday, the Nashville Zoo announced that Jewels the clouded leopard gave birth to two cubs — a male and a female — on June 30. The cubs each weighed about half a pound at birth and measured around four inches in length. The baby cats are the first clouded leopard cubs raised at the zoo since 2019, ending a drought in births after a long run of arrivals. Between 2019 and 2009, the Nashville Zoo saw 40 clouded leopard births. Cloud leopards are found in the tropical rainforests of Nepal, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, and China. Southeast Asia is their primary habitat, and they are considered vulnerable to extinction, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, due to deforestation, poaching, and the exotic pet trade. Nashville Zoo Three-Legged Tortoise Finds Home at English Zoo The recent arrival of the two cubs brings the Nashville Zoo's clouded leopard population up to 16 and marks the first time Jewels and her mate Bruce have successfully reproduced. The Species Survival Plan paired the three-year-old clouded leopards at an early age based on their compatible genetics. The plan assists in the conservation and advanced veterinary care of vulnerable and endangered species in captivity. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Nashville Zoo To ensure their best chance at survival, the cubs are being hand-reared by the Nashville Zoo's veterinary team. Based on its experience caring for clouded leopards, the zoo believes this method is the safest for the cubs as opposed to having their mother raise them. "Based on our research and experience with breeding and caring for clouded leopards, there are two main reasons we choose to hand-rear clouded leopards. Hand-rearing prevents parental predation and neglect, which is common for clouded leopards. Cubs that are hand-reared have a near 100% survival rate," the zoo shared in a Facebook post. Zoo Knoxville Announces the Birth of Endangered African Lion Cub Nashville Zoo The Nashville Zoo added, "Hand-raising also leads to a better quality of life for cats in human care! It helps to acclimate this normally nervous species to the sights and sounds of humans and allows cubs to be paired with their future mates at an early age. Pairing cubs together early leads to a stronger bond and more successful breeding." "All of these things are super important as we work toward conserving this endangered species!"