This pelt of a clouded leopard.
The clouded leopard is vulnerable of becoming extinct due to poaching and habitat destruction. The beautiful coat of the clouded leopard is very unusual and some people believe the coat and their teeth have special powers to heal. Therefore, some people still hunt the animal even though it is illegal.
The clouded leopard is protected and it is illegal to sell or possess the pelt, teeth, paws, or other parts of the clouded leopards. If you attempt to bring some part of a clouded leopard into the United States, you will be arrested for violating the United States Endangered Species Act. If you are found guilty, you will be fined not more than $50,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
Your help is needed to save the clouded leopard from extinction. Everyone can help save the clouded leopard by:
1- Learn about the clouded leopard and spread the word to your family and friends about the need to save this beautiful creature. You can be an advocate for the clouded leopard by speaking up for their conservation at community events.
2- Adopt a Clouded Leopard! Although you may not be able to pet your sponsored leopard, the money you contribute to support the symbolic adoption will help further research, protect habitat. and fund conservation activities. Adopt a clouded leopard at:
Palm Oil fruit
Palm oil plantations are a common threat to the rainforest habitat of the clouded leopard. As the demand increases for Palm Oil, the threats to the existing lands only increases. If you will take the time to examine the label of the palm oil container you can ensure that you only purchase certified palm oil. Many of the food products that we eat are made with Palm Oil.
Look for this symbol on the label before buying.
The following products are made with Certified Sustainable Palm Oil:
The full list of food brand names of companies that use Certified Sustainable Palm Oil can be obtained by visiting the Point Defiance Zoo website.
Atlanta Zoo's clouded leopard (now deceased)
The beautiful eyes of the clouded leopard help the big cat to hunt at night. Their eyes are different from any other wild cat's eyes. The pupil of the clouded leopard do not get as round as other big cats. Neither do the clouded leopard's pupil shrink to narrow vertical slits that other big cats.
The clouded leopard is a good swimmer and it is believed that this is how the clouded leopard reached small islands in Vietnam and Borneo.
The Clouded Leopard should not be confused with leopards as they are two different species. The clouded leopard has some very important differences from leopards and many of the other members of the wild cat family. The clouded leopard's skull has a very different structure from the common leopard. The clouded leopard can open their mouth wider than any other cat species. As you can see in the photo above, the clouded leopard has some very impressive teeth. In fact, they have the largest canine teeth relative to their body size among all the large cats. The canine teeth of a full grown clouded leopard average 2 inches in length, about the same size as the tiger's canine teeth. Very impressive when you know that the tiger is almost 10 times the size of a clouded leopard.
If the clouded leopard lives in an area where other wild cats live, such as tigers and common leopards, then they hunt at night (nocturnal) and live among the trees (arboreal). In areas where the clouded leopard does not compete with other wild cats for food, they spend more time active during the day and hunt on the ground.
Clouded leopards are the best climbers among all wild cats. There is a very important reason that clouded leopards can climb so well. Yes, they have a long tail (longest in proportion to their body size for all wild cat species) designed to help them balance, but they have very unusual ankles. Imagine that you want to walk backwards, it would be very difficult because our toes remain facing opposite our heels. Imagine how much easier if our ankles could rotate . . . like the clouded leopard. Their flexible ankle joints can rotate backwards allowing these talented climbers to climb down along branches and climb down tree trunks headfirst. They can even hang from a tree using just their back paws allowing their front paws to catch or hold their prey.
Clouded Leopard Cub
The Clouded Leopard is rarely seen in the wild, so much of what we know of these beautiful creatures is based on those that live in zoos. The video above featured two young cubs at the San Diego Zoo. Did you learn some new facts about the clouded leopard?
Why does the Clouded Leopard have a long, thick tail?
Because it helps them to maintain their balance as they climb trees and jump from one branch to another. Their tail is as long as their body, so if the Clouded Leopard is 3 feet long then their tail is also 3 feet long. They are not the largest cat species, but they are not the smallest wild cat. They are unique because they can meow like a small cat species and they can growl like a large cat.
Here are a few more quick facts about this amazing creature when they are full grown:
The Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) is found in southeastern Asia, specifically from the Himalayan mountains of Nepal, southern China, and Taiwan to Malaysia. In 2006, scientists determined that the Clouded Leopards living on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo are a distinct species, Neofelis diardi. Map published under Wikimedia® creative commons license license.
Photo courtesy of the Clouded Leopard Project
What do you know about this beautiful creature?
How did the clouded leopard get its name? Does it live among the clouds?
How big is a clouded leopard? Is it larger than your average house cat?
Where will you find this big cat?
What does a cloud leopard like to eat?
Why is it in danger of being extinct? What can we do to save the clouded leopard?
We will explore all of these questions as we review how you can help save the clouded leopard.
Although the clouded leopard loves to climb trees, the clouded leopard gets its name from the cloud shaped markings on its beautiful coat or pelt. The shapes of the clouds change sizes and shapes. The black clouds float on a tawny colored fur. Their fur may have areas of silver gray. If you look at the back of their neck you will see dark bars marking their fur. The clouded leopard has a long, thick tail with black rings. The tail is very important to this cat as it helps them to keep their balance as they move among the trees. Notice those beautiful eyes. Their eyes help the clouded leopard estimate distances when they jump from branch to branch.
Check back for further information all month.
Author: Linda Ralston
This blog is authored by Dr. Linda Ralston with the intent of educating tourists on how to be responsible and sustainable in their travel experiences. Check out the latest news with the Resort Manager's News . . . a free paper updated daily.