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Clouded leopard

Toronto Zoo

Clouded leopards are two species of wild cat that live throughout the forests of Southeast Asia. The smallest of the big cats, they are secretive and rare in the wild, preferring to remain alone and hidden from view. Because of this, studying them is a unique challenge, and while we know much from watching cats in captivity, these two species of cat remain elusive and poorly understood.

Clouded leopards are a medium-sized cat named for the cloud-like spots on its coat. These provide camouflage in the dappled light of its forest habitat.

In captivity, clouded leopards present a reproductive challenge. Unfortunately, there is a high incidence of aggression between males and females, sometimes resulting in the death of the female. This has made clouded leopards one of the most difficult cats to breed in captivity.

Clouded leopards face many significant threats in their Southeast Asian homeland. Their forest habitat is experiencing rampant degradation due to industrial logging and the development of agricultural areas, including vast palm oil plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia. These degraded areas cannot support prey species nor provide habitat for clouded leopards.

Clouded leopards are listed as endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the United States Endangered Species Act. They are also classified as an Appendix I endangered species by CITES, which means that international trade is prohibited. The IUCN classifies clouded leopards as vulnerable. They are protected from hunting in range countries, although wildlife laws are rarely enforced in most areas.


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Comment by Dave Sosnowski on March 12, 2012 at 11:52am

Wonderful capture of a magnificent animal.

Comment by Penny Britten on February 19, 2012 at 11:12pm

Beautiful intense capture!

Comment by carol heald on February 19, 2012 at 4:54am

such a beautiful animal the detail,colour and clarity are awesome Chris,makes me wonder what s/he is thinking with that faraway look in his/her eyes,brilliant info you gave us too Chris

Comment by hilda murray on February 18, 2012 at 8:09am

excellent capture and fabulous details

Comment by Les Jordan Jr. on February 15, 2012 at 2:10am

Nicely composed and posed.

Comment by Maria E. Morgan-Jurkic on February 14, 2012 at 2:43pm

I like!!! Those eyes are beautiful.

Comment by Deepesh Velachery on February 14, 2012 at 2:19pm

Nice capture and a great deal of info about this magnificient animal.

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