The beautifully marked Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) is a tree-climbing forest cat species of mainland Southeast Asia. Unfortunately deforestation of the habitat they depend on has directly contributed to a population decline of at least 30% over the past two decades (1993 - 2014).
Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) Classification
Clouded Leopards belong to the genus Neofelis and the full taxonomy, scientific classification or higher classification of the Clouded Leopard species (Neofelis nebulosa) is as follows:
Kingdom: Animalia (animals)
Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)
Class: Mammalia (mammals)
Order: Carnivora (carnivores)
Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)
Family: Felidae (cats)
Subfamily: Pantherinae (big cats)
Species: Neofelis nebulosa (clouded leopard)
Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) Subspecies (Lower Classifications)
Four Clouded Leopard subspecies were recognized in the past:
1. Neofelis nebulosa nebulosa (Mainland Asia)
2. Neofelis nebulosa diardi (Sumatra and Borneo) *
3. Neofelis nebulosa macrosceloides (Nepal, NE India, Bhutan)
4. Neofelis nebulosa brachyura (Taiwan)
*In 2011 a genetic analysis showed sufficient variation of the island species to be classed as a separate species Neofelis diardi. The coat patterns also differ with the mainland species (N. nebulosa) having large cloud markings with few inner spots and the island species (N. diardi) having smaller cloud markings with many inner spots.
The current Felidae taxonomy revision suggests that only the species Neofelis nebulosa is valid and there is insufficient evidence for subspecies. The population in Taiwan is now deemed extinct.
Clouded Leopard Conservation & Research
The global conservation status for the Clouded Leopard is Vulnerable (VU) and the latest assessment shows further declines due to exploitation and habitat loss.
The following organizations are dedicated to research and conservation of clouded leopards:
Clouded Leopard Facts and Information
The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Clouded Leopards:
- Clouded Leopard Status and Distribution Map - IUCN Red List
- Clouded Leopard Detailed Information - IUCN Cat Specialist Group
- Clouded Leopard Academic Literature pdf - IUCN Cat Specialist Group