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Formosan clouded leopard

East Asia

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Neofelis nebulosa brachyura

Endangered

  • Habitat loss and defragmentation
  • Poaching and illegal wildlife trade
  • Human-leopard conflict

The Formosan Clouded Leopard can only be found in Taiwan. This clouded leopard subspecies is considered as the second largest carnivore in the country, after the Formosan black bear. Its description was based on a traded skin back in 1862. Its shoulders and flanks have large cloud-like markings ranging from pale to tawny colours.

Back in 2016, the IUCN Red List declares the Formosan Clouded Leopard as an extinct species after conducting camera trapping studies in its native habitat within protected areas and then eventually finding no evidence of its existence. The tropical regions of Southeast Asia have suffered extensive deforestation for numerous decades now which destroyed the natural living habitat of the Formosan Clouded Leopard along with other endemic creatures there. Consequently, what’s left of its population is forced to retreat to wherever is available, limiting their food resources and available safe dwelling.

This loss of habitat makes them vulnerable to being ferociously hunted due to its decorative pelt, teeth, bones, and other body parts used for making traditional Asian medicine. Its meat is also considered a delicacy for expensive restaurants. Human settlements have invaded its natural territory, there is also obvious increase in human-leopard conflicts – with leopards caught eating livestock animals and people violently retaliate in defence.