banneresupdate.jpg (18636 bytes)


Buttonshorizontal.jpg (10825 bytes)

The Clouded Leopard: The "Littlest" Big Cat

Kirk Johnson
Turkish World Outreach, 508 Fruitvale Court, Grand Junction, CO 81504;

Over the past one hundred years, environments in central and southern Asia have seen isolated populations of large felids such as the tiger (Panthera tigris), the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), and the Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), extirpated from over 90 percent of their former range. These cats were endemic in diverse habitats until the advent of fireaarms led to their extirpation over large areas by 1900. The clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), the smallest "big cat," has in recent decades suffered extensive losses in southeast Asia and China due to habitat loss and paching. Immunological studies place Neofelis within the larger Pantherine sub-family. Very few studies have been attempted of the clouded leopard in the wild due to inaccessibility of the predator's tropical forest habitat. Zoos around the world have had diffculty breeding the felid, and studies are underway to determine stress factors in captive populations. The protection of habitat in Borneo and elsewhere in southeast Asia is likely to be the most significant factor in maintaining viable wild populations.

leopard range2.JPG (35191 bytes)
The presumed range of the clouded leopard stretches throughout
Southeast Asia, China, and into the Indian subcontinent.
Courtesy of the author, adapted from Nowell and Jackson(1996)

Leopard2.JPG (26154 bytes)
Captive clouded leopard at rest. Photo courtesy of the
Carnivore Preservation Trust

Would you like to get the full article? buttonsubscription.jpg (2070 bytes)