Leopard Cat Cub Makes Debut at Hungary Zoo Without Human Spectators Due to COVID-19 Closure

This little leopard cat had a low-key debut into zoo life.

On Feb. 28, the Debrecen Zoo in Hungary welcomed a “healthy” baby male Palawan leopard cat, who was “taken good care of” by his mom for the first six weeks of his life, the zoo wrote on Instagram. The cub made his debut earlier this month, though there weren’t any human visitors to admire the young animal.

Due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic precautions, the facilities are closed to guests, but the zoo looks forward to the day the little leopard cat will get appreciated by zoo-goers.

“Members of a subspecies found only at our institution in Hungary and a total of 6 zoos worldwide, the Palawan leopard cat family of now four resides in our Small Predator House where you will get to meet them after we reopen,” the zoo captioned a series of snapshots on Instagram.

Sandor Gergely Nagy, director of the Debrecen Zoo, said the animal residents miss having their human onlookers, and they most likely have picked up on the major impact of the public health crisis.

“I think not only us but also the animals feel that our life has changed,” Nagy told Reuters. “There are species, especially mammals such as monkeys, which show they are missing the visitors. … They need more care and attention from their carers now.”

Last month, another zoo had an unusual debut for one of its new additions as their park remained close due to the virus. The Dutch Ouwehands Zoo in Rhenen, Netherlands, introduced their 3-and-a-half-month-old polar bears without any spectators, saying the situation came in “bizarre times.”

“We live in bizarre times where the coronavirus has captivated the entire world and we are all advised to stay at home,” wrote the zoo, translated to English. “… Meanwhile, life in the zoo continues as usual. The animals are waking up, the trees are blooming and the carefree polar bear twins are showing their noses outside for the first time.”

Elsewhere, countless zoos are making live-streams available for people at home to view while practicing social distancing.

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