Neofelis diardi


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Neofelis diardi
Species Authority: (G. Cuvier, 1823)
Infra-specific Taxa Assessed:
Common Name/s:
English Sunda Clouded Leopard, Sunda Islands Clouded Leopard, Enkuli Clouded Leopard, Sundaland Clouded Leopard
Taxonomic Notes: Classically considered a single species, the Clouded Leopard has recently been split into two species. Based on analysis of mitochondrial DNA, microsatellites, chromosomal differences and pelage characteristics, Neofelis nebulosa is restricted to mainland southeast Asia, and N. diardi, the Sunda or Sundaland Clouded Leopard, is found on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo (Buckley-Beason et al. 2006; Kitchener et al. 2006, 2007; Wilting et al. 2007a, 2007b; Eizirik et al. submitted). Sundaland or the Sunda region refer to the islands of Sumatra, Borneo, Java and Bali as well as to the Malay peninsula. Although samples are limited from Peninsular Malaysia, it appears to be inhabited by the mainland Clouded Leopard N. nebulosa, rather than the Sunda Island type (Kitchener et al. 2007). The type specimen of N. diardi originated from Sumatra, but it was originally recorded in error as from Java (Kitchener et al. 2006). Clouded Leopard fossils have been found on Java, where it perhaps became extinct in the Holocene (Meijaard 2004). Based on genetic analysis, Wilting et al. (2007b) recognized two distinct subspecies of N. diardi: the Bornean Clouded Leopard N. d. borneensis and the Sumatran Clouded Leopard N. d. diardi (although the latter designation was based on a small sample size of three and further samples are required for confirmation).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor/s: Hearn, A., Sanderson, J., Ross, J., Wilting, A. & Sunarto, S.
Reviewer/s: Nowell, K., Breitenmoser-Wursten, C., Breitenmoser, U. (Cat Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
The Sunda clouded leopard is forest-dependent, and its habitat on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra is undergoing the world's highest deforestation rates (over 10% of lowland forest was lost in the past ten years) (Rautner et al. 2005, FAO 2007). Expansion of oil palm plantations is the most urgent threat: Malaysia and Indonesia have risen to become the world's largest producers of palm oil (Koh and Wilcove 2007). The species occurs at low densities (Wilting et al. 2006; A. Hearn and J. Ross pers. comm. 2007), particularly on the island of Sumatra (Hutujulu et al. 2007) and its total effective population size is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals (IUCN Cats Red List Workshop 2007).

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Sunda clouded leopard is probably restricted to the islands of Sumatra and Borneo (Buckley-Beason et al. 2006, Kitchener et al. 2007, Wilting et al. 2007a,b, Eizirik et al. submitted). It is unknown if there are still Sunda clouded leopards on the small Batu Islands close to Sumatra. There are clouded leopard fossils from Java (Meijaard 2004), but none in modern times. Although the Sunda region includes the Malay peninsula , Kitchener et al. (2007), on the basis of a small sample of skins, ascribed clouded leopards from the Malay peninsula to the mainland species, Neofelis nebulosa.

The map shows range within forest cover (European Commission, Joint Research Centre, 2003) to reflect patchiness caused by deforestation upon recommendation of the assessors (IUCN Cats Red List workshop 2007).

Brunei Darussalam; Indonesia (Kalimantan, Sumatera); Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Wilting et al. (2006) estimated a rough clouded leopard density of about 9 individuals per 100 km², derived from classification of individual tracks in a study area of Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Their preliminary landscape analysis confirmed the presence of clouded leopards in 25% of Sabah?s surface, but only a small fraction of these areas are classified as totally protected forest reserves. As a first working hypothesis Wilting et al. (2006) extrapolated, based on their densities from Tabin Wildlife Reserve, the potential number of clouded leopards in Sabah to be 1,500-3,200 individuals. However, they pointed out that this number most likely overestimates the true number.

Based on a different methodology (camera traps), Andrew Hearn and Joanna Ross (unpubl. 2007) obtained a lower density in a different area of Sabah of 6.4 adults per 100 km². This suggests the Sabah population could be at the low end or even below the above population estimates.

There are no population estimates for the remainder of its range in Borneo and Sumatra, but in lowland forest in Sumatra Hutujulu et al. (2007) estimated a low density of 29 adults per 100 km², from camera traps. This suggests the population of Sumatra could be considerably lower than on Borneo.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: On Sumatra it appears to be more abundant in hilly, montane areas, whereas on Borneo it also occurs in lowland rainforest (perhaps because there are no tigers on Borneo). It is forest-dependent, and does not go deep into plantations (oil palm, etc), although it can be found, perhaps at lower density, in logged forest. Records on Borneo are below 1,500 m. Occurs higher in Sumatra (IUCN Cats Red List Workshop 2007).

On Sumatra the Sunda clouded leopard occurs most probably in much lower densities (1.29/100 km²: Hutajulu et al. 2007) than on Borneo (6.4/100 km²: A. Hearn and J. Ross pers. comm. 2007 - 9/100 km²: Wilting et al. 2006). One explanation for this lower density might be that on Sumatra the clouded leopard co-occurs sympatric with the tiger, whereas on Borneo the clouded leopard is the largest carnivore

From local hunters, Rabinowitz et al. (1987) collected reports of clouded leopards with kills of a wide variety of prey, including young sambar deer, barking deer, mouse deer, bearded pig, palm civet, gray leaf monkey, fish and porcupine.

It is strongly arboreal. Holden (2001) found that the encounter rate for clouded leopards increased significantly when camera traps were set along narrow ridges or in places where animals would have difficulty moving arboreally. In level or undulating terrain clouded leopards were seldom if ever photographed, suggesting that the species does move about in trees, although from tracks they are known to travel along logging roads and trails (Holden 2001, Gordon and Stewart 2007). Clouded leopards may be less arboreal on Borneo (Rabinowitz et al. 1987) than in other areas where tigers and leopards are sympatric.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Sumatra and Borneo are undergoing high rates of deforestation, with oil palm plantations expanding rapidly, as well as logging and clearance for agriculture and settlement (Rautner et al. 2005, FAO 2007). There is substantial illegal trade in clouded leopard skins, partially fuelled by indiscriminate use of snare traps (TRAFFIC Southeast Asia pers. comm. 2007). Holden (2001) reported that in Sumatra, clouded leopards are snared accidentally in traps set for other species, but their parts have commercial value, and seven were killed in Kerinci Seblat's National Park from 2000-2001. Reports of clouded leopard attacking livestock are rare, but do occur, with one cat known to have been shot after reportedly taking goats from an enclave village surrounded by forest.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: CITES Appendix I (as Neofelis nebulosa), fully protected in Sumatra and Kalimantan (Indonesia), Sabah and Sarawak (Malaysia) and Brunei. It occurs in most protected areas along the Sumatran mountain spine, and in most protected areas on Borneo. More research is needed on population size and basic ecology (IUCN Cats Red List workshop, 2007).
Citation: Hearn, A., Sanderson, J., Ross, J., Wilting, A. & Sunarto, S. 2008. Neofelis diardi. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 18 April 2014.
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