Clouded Leopard

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Conservation Status: VULNERABLE

The clouded leopard, the state animal of Meghalaya (an Indian state), is a wildcat that inhabits the Himalayan foothills, mainland Southeast Asia, and China.

These cats have dark grey fur that is covered by a black or dusky-grey blotched pattern. The black spots also cover the head, and the partially fused or broken-up stripes run from the corner of the eyes over to the cheek, from the corner of the mouth to the neck, and from the nape to the shoulders. Likewise, the flanks are marked by dark dusky-grey irregular blotches bordered behind by long, oblique, irregularly curved or looped stripes. Such patterns that create a “clouded” appearance is where the species get its English name from.

Clouded leopards, however, are placed in a situation similar to other big cats.  Since 2008, they are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and only 10,000 mature individuals remain in the wild.

Many of the remaining forest areas are too small to ensure the long-term survival of clouded leopard populations, and threats of habitat loss from large-scale deforestation and commercial poaching pose a major threat(even though clouded leopards are completely protected under Myanmar’s national legislation). It really seems hard to survive as a big cat in Southeast Asia.

References:

  1. Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). “Order Carnivora”. In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 545–546. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0.
  2. “Neofelis Nebulosa (Clouded Leopard)”. Iucnredlist.Org, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/14519/0.

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