The forest dependent Sunda Clouded Leopard (Neofelis diardi) occurs on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra and is a sister species to the mainland Clouded Leopard of Southeast Asia. Habitat loss due to commercial logging and clearing of forests for oil palm plantations have directly contributed to a population decline of more than 30% over the past two decades (1993 - 2014).
Sunda Clouded Leopard (Neofelis diardi) Classification
Sunda Clouded Leopards belong to the genus Neofelis and the full taxonomy, scientific classification or higher classification of the Sunda Clouded Leopard species (Neofelis diardi) 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 / pantherine)
Species: Neofelis diardi (sunda clouded leopard)
Sunda Clouded Leopard (Neofelis diardi) Subspecies (Lower Classifications)
The Sunda Clouded Leopard species occurring on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo was first described in 2011 when genetic analysis showed sufficient differentiation from the mainland Clouded Leopard species (Neofelis nebulosa).
Coat pattern differences between the two species:
Mainland Clouded Leopard (N. nebulosa): larger cloud markings with few inner spots
Sunda Clouded Leopard (N. diardi): smaller cloud markings with many inner spots
In addition, the Sumatran and Bornean cats were distinct enough to be described as separate subspecies:
1. Neofelis diardi diardi (Sumatra and Batu islands)
2. Neofelis diardi borneensis (Borneo)
Kitchener et al. 2017. A revised taxonomy of the Felidae. The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN / SSC Cat Specialist Group.
Sunda Clouded Leopard Conservation & Research
The global conservation status for the Sunda Clouded Leopard is Vulnerable (VU) with a decreasing population primarily due to habitat loss.
The following organizations are dedicated to research and conservation of Mainland and Sunda Clouded Leopards:
Sunda Clouded Leopard Facts and Information
The following websites have well researched and authoritative information on Sunda Clouded Leopards:
- Sunda Clouded Leopard Status and Distribution Map - IUCN Red List
- Sunda Clouded Leopard Detailed Information - IUCN Cat Specialist Group
- Sunda Clouded Leopard Academic Literature pdf - IUCN Cat Specialist Group