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International Clouded Leopard Day: Time to Rethink Our Coexistence with Nature

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
A Clouded Leopard perched on a tree

Every species has its own unique role to play in the sustenance of an ecological balance, both in life and in nature. This is accomplished through managing prey based animal numbers, ensuring seed dispersal or by keeping a good genetic diversity that make sure the survival of any given species. That's why everything has its own purpose. One such species is Clouded Leopards, it is one of the world`s most beautiful and iconic cats.

Purpose & Importance of the Day:

International Clouded Leopards Day is a day of international realization and an effort to improve the numbers of Clouded leopards both in captivity and in the wild category. It is commemorated every year on 4th August.

First time, this Clouded Leopard Day was held on 4th August 2018 organized by 'The Aspinall Foundation' at Howlett’s Wild Animal Park, Kent, in the United Kingdom.

The main purpose of this day is to spread awareness and unite conservation thinking amongst zoological collections, charities, NGO’s, businesses and all those individuals having an interest in the Biodiversity preservation.

About Clouded Leopard:

The Scientific name of clouded leopard is 'Neofelis nebulosa'. Right now, it is listed by the IUCN as animal that are Vulnerable to Extinction from their natural habitats in the near future.

Genus: Neofelis
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Carnivora

How Rare are Clouded Leopards?

As we have mentioned above, Clouded Leopards are vulnerable species. Although they are officially protected in most of its range countries, still enforcements in many areas are weak. It is assumed that there are less than 10000 mature Clouded Leopard individuals left in the wild category, with the highest densities thought to be found on the tropical island of Borneo.

Clouded Leopard

Clouded Leopard Distribution and Habitat:

Clouded Leopards are native to the south-east Asia throughout a number of countries including India, Nepal, Burma, Southern China, Indo china and on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra. It was once also found in Taiwan but is now thought to be extinct there.

They spend almost all their lives in the trees and so chooses dense forest habitats including both tropical and sub-tropical forests and jungles, and at altitudes of up to 2000 meters.

Clouded Leopard prefers grassland, shrubs, subtropical and dense tropical forest up to a height of 7000 feet occurring from the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China.

In India, found in Sikkim, Meghalaya subtropical forests, Northern West Bengal, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Assam, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

Factors affecting Clouded leopards distribution:

Numbers of Clouded Leopards are continuing to decrease throughout their natural range due to habitat loss and the hunting of them for their fur, with the species having already become extinct from its native habitats in Taiwan. There are some factors which are affecting the numbers of Clouded Leopards enormously:

  • Deforestation & Habitat Loss

  • Varied Rainfall Patterns

  • Human-Animal Conflict

  • Developmental Projects

There's a hope that in some small way raising the awareness of the plight of the Clouded leopard may somehow help this most beautiful of cats in the wild and provides us with a greater understanding of its needs. Therefore, steps should be taken to make land-use and development policy to facilitate co-existence of people alongside clouded leopards as umbrellas for wider nature.

"In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we understand only what we are taught" – Baba Dioum

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