Clouded Leopard - Neofelis Genus
Clouded leopard at Aizawl, Mizoram, India by Dr Raju Kasambe [CC BY-SA 4.0 ] via Wikimedia Commons

The beautifully marked Mainland 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).

Panthera Lineage

1. Tiger (Panthera tigris)

2. Lion (Panthera leo)

3. Jaguar (Panthera onca)

4. Leopard (Panthera pardus)

5. Snow Leopard (Panthera uncia)

6. Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)

7. Sunda Clouded Leopard (Neofelis diardi)

Key Facts about Clouded Leopards

~ Longest upper canines of all cats ~

~ Cloud like coat markings ~

~ Tree climber and swimmer ~

Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) Classification

Clouded Leopards belong to the genus Neofelis and the full taxonomy or scientific classification of the Clouded Leopard species is:

Kingdom: Animalia (animals)

Phylum: Chordata (vertebrates)

Class: Mammalia (mammals)

Order: Carnivora (carnivores)

Suborder: Feliformia (cat-like)

Family: Felidae (cats)

Subfamily: Pantherinae (big cats)

Genus: Neofelis

Species: Neofelis nebulosa (Clouded Leopard)

Subspecies: None

The scientific name for the Clouded Leopard is Neofelis nebulosa which is also known as the binomial name, species name, latin name, biological name or zoological name. Some use the term 'botanical name' however that term is only applicable to the plant kingdom (botany) and not the animal kingdom (zoology).

Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)

Clouded leopard (Neofleis nebulosa)

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 2006 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 last Felidae taxonomy revision in 2017 suggested 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 Project - Clouded Leopard conservation and research - Asia

Smithsonian Institute - Clouded Leopard reproduction research - USA

Please support these organizations with their important work if you can. No matter the size of your contribution, every bit helps!

Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)

Clouded Leopard Print by Barbara Keith

Clouded Leopard Facts and Information

The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Clouded Leopards: