Monthly Wild Cat News
A Voice For The Wild Cats of the World
Each month the International Society of Endangered Wild Cats (ISEC) promotes awareness and education of a different wild cat species. This month we are featuring the the beautiful Clouded Leopard(Neofelis nebulosa).
Due to their cloud shaped markings, clouded leopards are often referred to as “Cloudies.” This species is of a medium size and has the largest canines of any wild cat in relation to the size of their bodies. Because of this, clouded leopards are often mistakenly believed to be related to the saber tooth tiger.
Sunda Clouded Leopard
Until 2006, there was believed to be four sub-species of Clouded Leopards, one of which was Neofelis nebulosa diardi found in Sumatra, Borneo and Java. Currently, there is enough molecular evidence to suggest that this subspecies is actually a different species all together. This has been confirmed by genetic testing, however most agree that more research is needed. This new species has been renamed Neofelis diardi and is referred to as the Sunda or Sundaland Clouded Leopard.
In February of 2010, researchers successfully filmed the first images of the Sundaland Clouded Leopard. As one can see from the video, the markings of the Sundaland Clouded Leopard are darker and closer together than the Clouded Leopard.
Although all this taxonomy might not seem that interesting, the recognition of a new species certainly is exciting. Hopefully, this will spark additional research into both the Clouded Leopard and the Sundaland Clouded Leopard. I, for one, am looking forward to witnessing the introduction of a new species and hope that others will help promote the conservation of this elusive wild cat.
Fun Clouded Leopard Tip:
An easy way to remember the Latin name of the clouded leopard is the word “nebulosa” and the term nebulous which is referring to a cloud or cloud-like.
For more information on clouded leopards, visit The Clouded Leopard Project’s site www.cloudedleopard.org.