The clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) is a wild cat occurring from the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China. Since 2008, it is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Its total population is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend, and no single population numbering more than 1,000 adults. It is also known as the mainland clouded leopard, to distinguish it from the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi). It is the state animal of the Indian state of Meghalaya.
|Clouded leopard range|
In 1821, the British zoologist Edward Griffith first described a clouded leopard under the scientific name Felis nebulosa. Brian Houghton Hodgson proposed Felis macrosceloides based on a clouded leopard specimen from Nepal in 1841. Robert Swinhoe proposed Felis brachyura in 1862 based on a Formosan clouded leopard. the clouded leopard specimen from Taiwan. In 1867, John Edward Gray subordinated all three to the genus Neofelis. At present, N. nebulosa is considered a monotypic species due to lack of evidence for subspecification.
The other Neofelis species is the Sunda clouded leopard, which was considered a subspecies of N. nebulosa until 2006. Genetic analysis of hair samples of the two Neofelis species indicates that they diverged 1.4 million years ago, after having used a now submerged land bridge to reach Borneo and Sumatra from mainland Asia.
The clouded leopard is considered to form an evolutionary link between the Pantherinae and the small cats. It represents the smallest of the big cats, but despite its name, it is not closely related to the leopard. It is part of the Panthera lineage that comprises Panthera and Neofelis species. Neofelis is thought to have diverged first from Panthera.
The clouded leopard's fur is of a dark grey or ochreous ground-color, often largely obliterated by black and dark dusky-grey blotched pattern. There are black spots on the head, and the ears are black. Partly fused or broken-up stripes run from the corner of the eyes over the cheek, from the corner of the mouth to the neck, and along the nape to the shoulders. Elongated blotches continue down the spine and form a single median stripe on the loins. Two large blotches of dark dusky-grey hair on the side of the shoulders are each emphasized posteriorly by a dark stripe, which passes on to the foreleg and breaks up into irregular spots. The flanks are marked by dark dusky-grey irregular blotches bordered behind by long, oblique, irregularly curved or looped stripes. These blotches yielding the clouded pattern suggest the English name of the cat. The underparts and legs are spotted, and the tail is marked by large, irregular, paired spots. Its legs are short and stout, and paws broad. Females are slightly smaller than males.
Its hyoid bone is ossified, making it possible to purr. Its pupils contract into vertical slits. Irises are brownish yellow to grayish green. Melanistic clouded leopards are uncommon. It has rather short limbs compared to the other big cats. Its hind limbs are longer than its front limbs to allow for increased jumping and leaping capabilities. Its ulnae and radii are not fused, which also contributes to a greater range of motion when climbing trees and stalking prey. Clouded leopards weigh between 11.5 and 23 kg (25 and 51 lb). Females vary in head-to-body length from 68.6 to 94 cm (27.0 to 37.0 in), with a tail 61 to 82 cm (24 to 32 in) long. Males are larger at 81 to 108 cm (32 to 43 in) with a tail 74 to 91 cm (29 to 36 in) long. Its shoulder height varies from 50 to 55 cm (20 to 22 in).
Its skull is long and low with strong occipital and sagittal crests. The canine teeth are exceptionally long, the upper being about three times as long as the basal width of the socket. The first premolar is usually absent. The upper pair of canines measure 4 cm (1.6 in) or longer. The clouded leopard is often referred to as a “modern-day sabre-tooth” because it has the largest canines in proportion to its body size.
The clouded leopard occurs from the Himalayan foothills in Nepal, Bhutan and India to Myanmar, southeastern Bangladesh, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Indochina, and in China south of the Yangtze River. It is regionally extinct in Singapore and Taiwan. The last confirmed record of a Formosan clouded leopard dates to 1989, when the skin of a young individual was found in the Taroko area. It was not recorded during an extensive camera trapping survey from 2000 to 2004 in southern Taiwan.
In Nepal, the clouded leopard was thought to be extinct since the late 1860s. But in 1987 and 1988, four individuals were found in the central part of the country, close to Chitwan National Park and in the Pokhara Valley. These findings extended the known range westward, suggesting it is able to survive and breed in degraded woodlands that previously harboured moist subtropical semideciduous forest. Since then, individuals have been recorded in the Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park and in the Annapurna Conservation Area.
In India, it occurs in Assam, northern West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura. In Pakke Tiger Reserve, a clouded leopard was photographed for the first time in India. In Sikkim, clouded leopards were camera-trapped at altitudes of 2,500–3,720 m (8,200–12,200 ft) between April 2008 and May 2010 in the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve. In Manas National Park, 16 individuals were recorded during a survey in November 2010 to February 2011.
In Bhutan, it was recorded in Royal Manas National Park, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, Phibsoo Wildlife Sanctuary, Jigme Dorji National Park, Phrumsengla National Park, Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary, and several non-protected areas.
In Peninsular Malaysia, clouded leopards were recorded in Taman Negara National Park, Ulu Muda Forest, Pasoh Forest Reserve, Royal Belum State Park, Temengor Forest Reserve and a few linkages between 2009 and 2015.
The clouded leopard is a solitary cat. Early accounts depict it as a rare, secretive, arboreal, and nocturnal inhabitant of dense primary forest. It is one of the most talented climbers among the cats. Captive clouded leopards have been observed to climb down vertical tree trunks head first, and hang on to branches with their hind paws bent around branchings of tree limbs. They are capable of supination and can even hang down from branches only by bending their hind paws and their tail around them. When jumping down, they keep hanging on to a branch this way until the very last moment. They can climb on horizontal branches with their back to the ground, and in this position make short jumps forward. When balancing on thin branches, they use their long tails to steer. They can easily jump up to 1.2 m (3.9 ft) high.
Radio-collared clouded leopards were foremost active by night but also showed crepuscular activity peaks. They use trees as daytime rest sites, but also spend time on the ground when hunting at night. Their activity pattern depends on their prey and the level of human disturbance. When hunting, they stalk their prey or wait for the prey to come to them. After making and feeding on a kill, they usually retreat into trees to digest and rest. Their prey includes both arboreal and terrestrial vertebrates. Pocock presumed they are adapted for preying upon herbivorous mammals of considerable bulk because of their powerful build, long canines and the deep penetration of their bites. Confirmed prey species include southern pig-tailed macaque, hog deer, slow loris, Asiatic brush-tailed porcupine, Malayan pangolin and Berdmore's ground squirrel. Known prey species in China include barking deer and pheasants.
Captive clouded leopards have been observed to scent mark by spraying urine and rubbing their heads on prominent objects. Their vocalisations include a short high-pitched meow call, a loud crying call, both emitted when a cat is trying to locate another one over a long or short distance; they prusten and raise their muzzle when meeting each other in a friendly manner; when aggressive, they growl with a low-pitched sound and hiss with exposed teeth and wrinkled nose.
Their partly nocturnal and far-ranging behaviour, their low densities, and because they inhabit densely vegetated habitats and remote areas makes the counting and monitoring of clouded leopards extremely difficult. Consequently, little is known about their behaviour and status. Available information on their ecology is anecdotal, based on local interviews and a few sighting reports.
Home ranges have only been estimated in Thailand:
Both males and females average 26 months at first reproduction. Mating usually occurs between December and March. Males tend to be very aggressive during sexual encounters and to bite the female on the neck during courtship, severing her vertebrae. With this in mind, male and female compatibility has been deemed extremely important when attempting breeding in captivity. The pair mates multiple times over the course of several days. The male grasps the female by the neck, and the female responds with vocalization that encourages the male to continue. The male then leaves and is not involved in raising the kittens. Estrus lasts six days on average, estrous cycle averages 30 days. After a gestation period of 93 ± 6 days, females give birth to a litter of one to five, mostly three cubs.
Initially, the young are blind and helpless, much like the young of many other cats, and weigh from 140 to 280 g (4.9 to 9.9 oz). Unlike adults, the kittens' spots are "solid" — completely dark rather than dark rings. The young can see within about 10 days of birth, are active within five weeks, and are fully weaned at around three months of age. They attain the adult coat pattern at around six months, and probably become independent after around 10 months. Females are able to bear one litter each year.
Many of the remaining forest areas are too small to ensure the long-term persistence of clouded leopard populations. They are threatened by habitat loss following large–scale deforestation and commercial poaching for the wildlife trade. Skins, claws, and teeth are offered for decoration and clothing, bones and meat as substitute for tiger in traditional Asian medicines and tonics, and live animals for the pet trade. Few poaching incidents have been documented, but all range states are believed to have some degree of commercial poaching. In recent years, substantial domestic markets existed in Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietnam.
In Myanmar, 301 body parts of at least 279 clouded leopards, mostly skins and skeletons, were observed in four markets surveyed between 1991 and 2006. Three of the surveyed markets are situated on international borders with China and Thailand, and cater to international buyers, although clouded leopards are completely protected under Myanmar's national legislation. Effective implementation and enforcement of CITES is considered inadequate.
Neofelis nebulosa is listed in CITES Appendix I and protected over most of its range. Hunting is banned in Bangladesh, China, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is not legally protected outside Bhutan's protected areas. Hunting is regulated in Laos. No information about its protection status is available from Cambodia. These bans, however, are poorly enforced in India, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Early captive-breeding programs involving clouded leopards were not very successful, largely due to ignorance of courtship activity among them in the wild. Experience has taught keepers that introducing pairs of clouded leopards at a young age gives opportunities for the pair to bond and breed successfully. Males have the reputation of being aggressive towards females. Facilities breeding clouded leopards need to provide the female with a secluded, off-exhibit area. Modern breeding programs involve carefully regulated introductions between prospective mating pairs, and take into account the requirements for enriched enclosures. Stimulating natural behavior by providing adequate space to permit climbing minimizes stress. This, combined with a feeding program that fulfills the proper dietary requirements, has promoted more successful breeding in recent years.
In March 2011, two breeding females at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere in Nashville, Tennessee, gave birth to three cubs, which were raised by zookeepers. Each cub weighed 0.5 lb (0.23 kg). In June 2011, two cubs were born at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington. The breeding pair was brought from the Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand in an ongoing education and research exchange program. Four cubs were born at the Nashville Zoo in 2012. On May 22, 2015, four more cubs were born at Tacoma's Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. The cubs were the fourth litter born to Chai Li and her mate Nah Fun.
As of December 2011, 222 clouded leopards are believed to exist in zoos.
The Rukai people of Taiwan considered the hunting of clouded leopards a taboo. In the 1970s the print of Rama Samaraweera's painting Clouded leopard was a best-seller in the USA. Clouded leopard (Kheleo) was the mascot for 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, hosted by India from 6 to 28 October 2017.
A clouded leopard is the antagonist of the fantasy animated feature film Rugrats Go Wild. Chrissie Hynde provides the voice and vocal effects of the animal. Also, the 2017 Taiwanese furry visual novel video game Nekojishi features an anthropomorphic clouded leopard spirit, Likulau.
The clouded leopard also appears in Far Cry 4, alongside other predators such as the Bengal tiger and Snow leopard. In the game, the clouded leopard is portrayed as being far larger and more aggressive than its real-life counterpart, that frequently attacks the player and any NPCs' in the area.
Batang Gadis is a national park covering 1,080 km2 in North Sumatra province, Indonesia extending between 300 and 2,145 metres altitude. It is named after the Batang Gadis river that flows thorough the park. Signs of the endangered Sumatran tiger and the threatened Asian golden cat, leopard cat and clouded leopard were seen in the park. The protection of Batang Gadis as a national park is part of a plan to create the Northern Sumatra biodiversity conservation corridor, which would be connected, via a series of protected areas and forests, to Gunung Leuser National Park in the north of the island.Big cat
The term "big cat" is typically used to refer to any of the five living members of the genus Panthera, namely tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard, and snow leopard.
Except the snow leopard, these species are able to roar.
A more liberal and expansive definition of the term includes species outside of Panthera including the cougar, clouded leopard, Sunda clouded leopard and cheetah, although these added species also do not roar.Despite enormous differences in size, various cat species are quite similar in both structure and behaviour, with the exception of the cheetah, which significantly stands out from the other big and small cats. All cats are carnivores and efficient apex predators. Their range includes the Americas, Africa, and Asia.Biodiversity of Assam
The biodiversity of Assam, a state in North-East India, makes it a biological hotspot with many rare and endemic plant and animal species. The greatest success in recent years has been the conservation of the Indian rhinoceros at the Kaziranga National Park, but a rapid increase in human population in Assam threatens many plants and animals and their natural habitats.
The rhinoceros, tiger, deer or chital / futukihorina (Axis axis), swamp deer or dolhorina (Cervus duvauceli duvauceli), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), hoolock gibbon, pygmy hog or nol-gahori (Porcula salvania), hispid hare, golden langur (Trachypithecus geei), golden cat, giant civet, binturong, hog badger, porcupine, and civet are found in Assam. Moreover, there are abundant numbers of Gangetic dolphins, mongooses, giant squirrels and pythons. The largest population of wild water buffalo anywhere is in Assam.The major birds in Assam include the blue-throated barbet or hetuluka (Megalaima asiatica), white-winged wood duck or deuhnah (Asarcornis scultulata), ring-tailed fishing eagle or kuruwa (Haliaeetus leucorythus), great pied hornbill or rajdhonesh (Buceros bicornis homrai), Himalayan golden-backed three-toed wood-pecker or barhoituka (Dinopium shorii shorii), and migratory pelican.
Assam is also known for orchids and for valuable plant species and forest products.Bornean clouded leopard
The Bornean clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi borneensis) is a subspecies of the Sunda clouded leopard. It is native to the island of Borneo, and differs from the Batu-Sumatran clouded leopard in the shape and frequency of spots, as well as in cranio-mandibular and dental characters. In 2017, the Cat Classification Taskforce of the Cat Specialist Group recognized the validity of this subspecies.CM-32 Armoured Vehicle
The CM-32 "Clouded Leopard" (雲豹裝甲車 "Yunpao"), officially Taiwan Infantry Fighting Vehicle (TIFV), is an eight-wheeled armoured vehicle currently being produced for the Republic of China (Taiwan) Army. It is based on the 6x6 CM-31 designed by Timoney Technology Limited of Ireland and is further developed by the Ordnance Readiness Development Center.According to the Taipei Times, it was named after the clouded leopard to show that the vehicle is "agile and swift".Clouded Leopard National Park
Clouded Leopard National Park is a national park in the Sipahijola Wildlife Sanctuary Tripura, India. It covers an area of about 5.08 square kilometres (1.96 sq mi).Formosan clouded leopard
The Formosan clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa brachyura) was a clouded leopard subspecies that was endemic to the island of Taiwan. Camera trapping studies carried out in several protected areas in Taiwan between 1997 and 2012 did not reveal the presence of a clouded leopard. The population is therefore listed as extinct on the IUCN Red List.It was first described in 1862 on the basis of a traded skin with an incomplete tail. Its fur colour is pale to tawny, and it has large cloud-like markings on the shoulders and flanks with a few spots within the clouds.Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary
The Kamlang Wildlife Sanctuary, established in 1989, is rich in flora and fauna. It is situated in the Lohit District of the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. The park is named after the Kamlang River which flows through it. The Mishmi, Digaru, and Mizo tribal people who reside around the periphery of the sanctuary claim their descent from the King Rukmo of the epic Mahabharata. They believe in a myth of an invisible god known as Suto Phenkhenynon jamalu. An important body of water in the sanctuary is the Glow Lake. Located in tropical and sub-tropical climatic zones, the sanctuary is the habitat of the four big cat species of India: tiger, leopard, clouded leopard and snow leopard.List of carnivorans described in the 2000s
This page is a list of species of the order Carnivora discovered in the 2000s. The order also contains animals once classified separately in Pinnipedia. See also parent page Mammals discovered in the 2000s.List of felids
Felidae is a family of mammals in the order Carnivora, colloquially referred to as cats. A member of this family is also called a felid or feline. The term "cat" refers both to felids in general and specifically to domestic cats. The characteristic features of cats have evolved to support a carnivorous lifestyle, with adaptations for ambush or stalking and short pursuit hunting. They have slender muscular bodies, strong flexible forelimbs and retractable claws for holding prey, dental and cranial adaptations for a strong bite, and often have characteristic striped or spotted coat patterns for camouflage.Felidae comprises two subfamilies, the Pantherinae and the Felinae. The former includes the five Panthera species tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard, and snow leopard, as well as the two Neofelis species clouded leopard and Sunda clouded leopard. The Felinae subfamily includes 12 genera and 34 species, such as the bobcat, caracal, cheetah, cougar, ocelot, and common domestic cat.Traditionally, five subfamilies have been distinguished within the Felidae based on phenotypical features: the Felinae, the Pantherinae, the Acinonychinae (cheetahs), the extinct Machairodontinae, and the extinct Proailurinae. Molecular phylogenetic analysis suggests that living (extant) felids fall into eight lineages (clades). The placement of the cheetah within the Puma lineage invalidates the traditional subfamily Acinonychinae, and recent sources use only two subfamilies for extant genera. The number of accepted species in Felidae has been around 40 since the 18th century, though research, especially modern molecular phylogenetic analysis, has over time adjusted the generally accepted genera as well as the divisions between recognized subspecies, species, and population groups. In addition to the extant species listed here, over 30 fossil genera have been described; these are divided into the Felinae, Pantherinae, Proailurinae, and Machairodontinae subfamilies. This final subfamily includes the Smilodon genus, known as the "saber-toothed tiger", which went extinct around 10,000 years ago. The earliest known felid genus is the Proailurus, part of Proailurinae, which lived approximately 25 million years ago.Neofelis
Neofelis is a genus comprising two extant cat species from Southeast Asia: the clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) of mainland Asia, and the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) of Sumatra and Borneo.The scientific name Neofelis is a composite of the Greek word neo- (νεο-) meaning "new", and the Latin word feles meaning "cat", literally meaning "new cat".Pantherinae
Pantherinae is a subfamily within the family Felidae, which was named and first described by Reginald Innes Pocock in 1917.Parken Zoo
Parken Zoo is a combined amusement park and zoo in the town of Eskilstuna in Sweden.
The amusement park was founded in 1898, and there was a display of animals from the beginning of the fifties. In 1954 Parken Zoo started to charge visitors an entrance fee. In 1956 the zoo displayed around 200 animals.
During the eighties the zoo started to specialize in feline carnivores.
In 2013 a clouded leopard escaped from its enclosure and killed three deer.Prusten
Prusten is a vocalization made by only three members of the Pantherinae subfamily, the tiger, snow leopard and the clouded leopard. Prusten is also referred to as chuffing or chuffle (verb and noun). Chuffing is a non-threatening vocalization. It is often used between two cats who are greeting each other, during courting, or simply by a mother comforting her cubs. It is also common to see captive tigers and snow leopards exchange chuffs with their human keepers in a way to express a greeting or excitement. In order to vocalize a chuff, the animal's mouth is closed and it blows through the nostrils, producing a breathy snort.Sipahijola Wildlife Sanctuary
Sepahijala Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary in Tripura, India of some 18.53 square kilometres (7.15 sq mi), about 25 kilometres (16 mi) from the city centre, located in Bishalgarh. It is a woodland with an artificial lake and natural botanical and zoological gardens. It is famous for its clouded leopard enclosures. The sanctuary contains a variety of birds, primates, and other animals. The terrain is green throughout the year and the weather is temperate except for the two humid summer months of March and April. It gives shelter to about 150 species of birds and the unique bespectacled monkey, Phayre's langur.
The primate section consists of four species (rhesus macaque, pig-tailed macaque, capped langur and spectacled langur). The crab-eating mongoose (last sighted in the 1930s) has been resuscitated. The sanctuary has been developed both as a wildlife sanctuary and as an academic and research centre.
About 150 species of birds live in the sanctuary, and migratory birds visit in winter. Initiated in 1972 the sanctuary has five sections: carnivores, primates, ungulates, reptiles and aviary. There are several lakes;among which Amrit Sagar named lake have boating facility.There is an accommodation at the forest where a dak bungalow, called Abasarika, near the botanical garden, zoo and boating lake attracts the tourists to have a night adventure in the middle of the forest which is a great experience.Sumatran clouded leopard
The Sumatran clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi diardi) is a subspecies of the Sunda clouded leopard and is native to the Indonesian islands of Batu and Sumatra. It differs in molecular, craniomandibular and dental characteristics from the Bornean clouded leopard.
It was recognized as a valid subspecies in 2017.Sunda clouded leopard
The Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) is a medium-sized wild cat native to Borneo and Sumatra. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 2015, as the total effective population probably consists of fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend. On both Sunda islands, it is threatened by deforestation.In 2006, it was classified as a species, distinct from the clouded leopard in mainland Southeast Asia. Its fur is darker with a smaller cloud pattern.It is also known as the Sundaland clouded leopard, Enkuli clouded leopard, Diard's clouded leopard, and Diard's cat.Tianmu Mountain
Tianmu Mountain, Mount Tianmu, or Tianmushan (Chinese: 天目山; pinyin: Tiānmù Shān; literally: 'Heavenly Eyes Mountain') is a mountain in Lin'an County 83.2 kilometers (51.7 mi) west of Hangzhou, Zhejiang, in eastern China. It is made up of two peaks: West Tianmu (1,506 meters or 4,941 feet) and East Tianmu (1,480 meters or 4,860 feet). Twin ponds near the top of the peaks led to the name of the mountain. China's Tianmu Mountain National Nature Reserve lies on the northwest portion of the mountain. It is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve as part of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Program. The mountain has a lush sub-tropical climate with an annual rainfall of 1,767 millimeters (69.6 in) and an annual temperature of 17.3 °C (63 °F).
Tianmu is known for giant Japanese cedars, waterfalls, Tianmu tea, peaks surrounded by clouds, bamboo shoots, temples and nunneries, and odd-shaped rocks. More than 2,000 species of plants grow on the mountain, including (on West Tianmu) the last surviving truly wild population of Ginkgo trees. Prominent among the Japanese cedars is the "Giant Tree King", named by the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing. In 2009, it measured 26.5 meters (86 ft 11 in) in height, 2.33 meters (7 ft 8 in) in diameter, and 42.9 cubic meters (1,510 cu ft) in volume. The mountain is also home to hundreds of species of birds and animals, including 39 endangered or protected species. These include the clouded leopard and the black muntjac.In Chinese, the name Tianmushan can also refer to the adjacent range of mountains, including Mount Mogan.Western Forest Complex
The Western Forest Complex, straddling two countries, Thailand and Myanmar, including 19 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, is the main biodiversity conservation corridor of the region. Covering 18,730 km2, it is one of the largest protected territories in Southeast Asia. The geography of the Western Forest Complex ranges from lowlands to the mountains of the Thai highlands and the Dawna-Tenasserim Hills.Because of its large size, it supports diverse large mammal fauna, including Indochinese tiger, Indochinese leopard, dhole, clouded leopard, sun bear, 10 species of primates (all five of the region’s macaques), gaur, banteng, water buffalo, elephant, tapir, and four of Thailand's five deer species. Altogether 153 mammal species, 490 bird species, 41 reptiles, and 108 species of fish are confirmed in the area.
Big cats on the Indian subcontinent
|Extant in the wild|
|Extinct in India|
Extant Carnivora species