|Red List Category & Criteria:
||Grassman, L., Lynam, A., Mohamad, S., Duckworth, J.W., Bora, J., Wilcox, D., Ghimirey, Y., Reza, A. & Rahman, H.
||Nowell, K., Hunter, L., Breitenmoser-Würsten, C., Lanz, T. & Breitenmoser, U.
||Crouthers, R., Brook, S.M., Hendrie, D., Riordan, P., Rasphone, A., Wang, S.W., Dhakal, M., Sanderson, J. & Mallon, D.
Clouded Leopard are less abundant range wide than when last accessed in 2007. Some range countries have maintained status quo Clouded Leopard abundance, however, the majority of range countries have experienced moderate declines, with serious declines noted for Myanmar, Viet Nam and China. The causes of Clouded Leopard declines are attributed primarily to (1) direct exploitation, (2) range fragmentation, and (3) reduction in habitat quality. Clouded Leopard exploitation for pelts is well documented in several countries, including the infamous Tachilek market along the Thai–Myanmar border. The frequency of Clouded Leopard parts available at market indicates increased pressure from hunting (Oswell 2010). Ongoing deforestation in countries such as Myanmar and Cambodia is also leading to increased fragmentation and reduction of optimal habitat for Clouded Leopard.
A reduction of at least 30% in the number of mature individuals over the last three generations (GL of 7 years [Pacifici et al. 2013] x 3 = 21 years, 1993–2014) is suspected due to direct exploitation and habitat loss. The pattern of decline is not well understood given a lack of data on sub-population sizes and trend, and the rate of decline has probably varied. In a small part of the range we assume Clouded Leopard numbers to be roughly stable: Bhutan, Malaysia and Thailand, comprising roughly 12% of 2007 EOO and an assumed 12% of the 1993 population). We find it plausible that numbers in the remainder of its range declined at a mean annual rate of at least 1.63%, resulting in a minimum population reduction of 30% (a zero % decline in 12% of the population and a nearly 35% decline in the remaining 88%). As these threats are viewed as unlikely to cease and in some cases may not be reversible, an equivalent future decline is also suspected (a minimum future reduction in the number of mature individuals of 30% from 2015–2036).
We take a precautionary attitude toward uncertainty in this assessment. We are certain of relatively steep declines due to habitat loss and direct exploitation, however, the rate is not known and we assume a threshold rate that meets the A criterion for Vulnerable. Generation length could be lower: for example Yamada and Durrant (1989) reported that few Clouded Leopards in captivity were reproductively successful after five (F) or six (M) years of age, but we suspect these are dated observations given improvements in captive breeding. Also, generation length may be shortened in declining wild populations if mortality results in reduced longevity. If a shorter GL is used, and if we did not change our assumptions about the rate of decline, the suspected reduction would be less than 30% thus qualifying the species as Near Threatened. However, because we are even more uncertain about the total number of mature individuals than we are about the likelihood of decline, it is possible that they could number less than 10,000, and the species could also qualify as Vulnerable under C1.
|Previously published Red List assessments:|
- 2015 – Vulnerable (VU)
- 2008 – Vulnerable (VU)
- 2002 – Vulnerable (VU)
- 1996 – Vulnerable (VU)
- 1994 – Vulnerable (V)
- 1990 – Vulnerable (V)
- 1988 – Vulnerable (V)
- 1986 – Vulnerable (V)
|Range Description:||The Clouded Leopard is found from the Himalayan foothills in Nepal through mainland Southeast Asia into China (Nowell and Jackson 1996). The Clouded Leopard historically had a wide distribution in China, south of the Yangtze, but recent records are few, habitat is fast disappearing, illegal hunting of this species has been prolific and its current distribution in China is poorly known (Wozencraft et al. 2008, P. Riordan pers. comm.) Clouded leopard occurs in parts of southeast Bangladesh (or Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT)) in suitable mountainous habitat. The Clouded Leopard is extinct on the island of Taiwan (Anon. 1996).|
The Clouded Leopards of Sumatra and Borneo are considered a separate species Neofelis diardi (Buckley-Beason et al. 2006, Kitchener et al. 2006, Eizirik et al. submitted), the Sundaland Clouded Leopard. Clouded Leopards do not occur on Java.
Bangladesh; Bhutan; Cambodia; China; India; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia); Myanmar; Nepal; Thailand; Viet Nam
Taiwan, Province of China
|♦ Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):||Yes|
|♦ Upper elevation limit (metres):||3000|
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||The Clouded Leopard is intermediate in size between large and small cats, with wild females from Thailand weighing 11.5 (Austin and Tewes 1999) to 13.5 kg (Grassman et al. 2005), and males 16 (Grassman et al. 2005) to 18 kg (Austin and Tewes 1999). Its coat is patterned with distinctive large cloud shaped markings, its canines are exceptionally elongated, as is its tail - for a large cat, the Clouded Leopard is highly arboreal (Sunquist and Sunquist 2002). They are strongly associated with forest habitat, particularly primary evergreen tropical rainforest, but there are also records from dry and deciduous forest, as well as secondary and logged forests. They have been recorded in the Himalayas up to 2,500 m and possibly as high as 3,000 m. Less frequently, they have been found in grassland and scrub, dry tropical forests and mangrove swamps (Nowell and Jackson 1996). Radio-tracking studies in Thailand have showed a preference for forest over more open habitats (Austin et al. 2007, Grassman et al. 2005).|
A study in Thailand's Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary found that Clouded Leopards preyed upon a variety of arboreal and terrestrial prey, including Hog Deer, Slow Loris, Bush-tailed Porcupine, Malayan Pangolin and Indochinese Ground Squirrel (Grassman et al. 2005). Other observations include mainly primate prey, but also Muntjac and Argus Pheasant (Nowell and Jackson 1996). Clouded Leopards are primarily nocturnal, with crepuscular activity peaks (Grassman et al. 2005, Austin et al. 2007).
Two radio-telemetry studies in different parks in Thailand found that adult male and female Clouded Leopards had similar home range sizes between 30-40 km² in size (95% fixed kernel estimators), with smaller intensively used core areas of 3-5 km² (Grassman et al. 2005, Austin et al. 2007). While both studies found substantial home range overlap between males and females, as is typical of most felids, Grassman et al. (2005) also found that the ranges of their two radio-collared males overlapped by a significant amount (39%). Although both studies found similar home ranges, clouded leopards in Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary travelled approximately twice the average daily distance (average 2 km) than Clouded Leopards in Khao Yai National Park (Grassman et al. 2005, Austin et al. 2007).
Clouded Leopards may occur at higher densities when densities of the larger cats, Tigers and Leopards, are lower (Lynam et al. 2001, Grassman et al. 2005, Rao et al. 2005).
|Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:||Yes|
|Generation Length (years):||7|
|Movement patterns:||Not a Migrant|
|Congregatory:||Congregatory (and dispersive)|