Clouded Leopard

The Clouded leopards were spotted in a community forest in Nagaland recently. This is the first time the big cat is seen in the region. It was spotted at an altitude of 3.7 kilometers along the Indo – Myanmar border.

About the spotting

The Clouded Leopard are locally called “Khephak”. It was captured in a camera trap. The forests where the leopard was found is managed and owned by local communities of Nagaland.

Clouded Leopard: Inhabitation

They are found in the region between foothills of Himalayas and the mainland Southeast Asia. And also, till the southeast Asian region.

Physical Characteristics

It has irregular spots and dusky grey blotches. It hunts during night and rests on the tree during day. Its fur is dark grey in color. They have rotating ankles and sharp, powerful legs. The legs and ankle help them in climbing up fast and also hanging upside down.

Extinction

The clouded leopard is locally extinct in Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam and Hainan Island. It is highly threatened due to poaching and deforestation.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • United States: Endangered

Hunting is banned in India, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Taiwan, Nepal, Vietnam. However, the ban is poorly implemented in Thailand, India and Myanmar.

Occurrence of Clouded Leopard in India

States

Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram. Tripura, subtropical forests of Meghalaya, West Bengal and Sikkim.

National Parks and Reserves

Manas National Park, Dampa Tiger Reserve, Balpakram Baghmara landscape, Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, Pakke Tiger Reserve

Culture

The Rukai people are considered as Taboo. Taboo is a ban on something. Taboo is often seen as a protection to the human. Rukai are the indigenous people of Taiwan. They are also called Tsalisen or Tsarisen. Clouded Leopard is the state animal of Meghalaya.

Threats

Hunting, Wildlife trade and Deforestation. The body parts are used in traditional Asian medicines.

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