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Clouded Leopard

wildlife


The clouded leopard also called mainland clouded leopard, is a wild cat inhabiting dense forests from the foothills of the Himalayas through mainland Southeast Asia into South China. It was first described in 1821 on the basis of a skin of an individual from China. The clouded leopard has large dusky-grey blotches and irregular spots and stripes reminiscent of clouds. Its head-and-body length ranges from 68.6 to 108 cm (27.0 to 42.5 in) with a 61 to 91 cm (24 to 36 in) long tail. It uses its tail for balancing when moving in trees and is able to climb down vertical tree trunks head first. It rests in trees during the day and hunts by night on the forest floor.


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The clouded leopard


is the first cat that genetically diverged 9.32 to 4.47 million years ago from the common ancestor of the pantherine cats. Today, the clouded leopard is in Singapore, Taiwan, and possibly also in Hainan Island and Vietnam. Its total population is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend, and no single population numbering more than 1,000 adults.

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It has therefore been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 2008. The population is threatened by large–scale deforestation and commercial poaching for the wildlife trade. Its body parts are offered for decoration and clothing, though it is legally protected in most range countrie