Formosan clouded leopard
Neofelis nebulosa brachyura
- It was endemic to Taiwan and second-largestcarnivore of the region, after the Formosan black bear.
- It was first described in 1862 on the basis of a traded skin with an incomplete tail.
- Its fur colour is pale to tawny, and it has large cloud-like markings on the shoulders and flanks with a few spots within the clouds.
- The clouded leopards has its own genus (Neofelis), and in 2006, the clouded leopard was split in two: Neofelis nebulosa is found on the Asian mainland, while Neofelis diardi, occurs only on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.
- Genetic analysis of hair samples of Neofelisspecimens revealed that the Formosan clouded leopard is not distinct from the mainland clouded leopard.
- Unlike its relatives elsewhere in Asia, the Formosan clouded leopard had a short tail, which is about one-half the length of clouded leopard specimens from the Himalayas.
- The Formosan clouded leopard is an incredible climber, and adapted to an arboreal life.
- Their rotating ankles in the paws, and super long teeth help them to grasp prey up in the trees.
- The animal can climb headfirst down a tree, something very few cats in the animal kingdom can do.
- The last official sighting of Formosan clouded leopard occurred in 1983.
- Camera trapping studies carried out in several protected areas in Taiwan between 1997 and 2012 did not reveal the presence of a clouded leopard.
- The Formosan clouded leopard was declared extinct in 2013, though recently in 2019 rangers from Taiwan claims to have spotted the leopard thought to be extinct.
Causes for extinction
- Extensive logging, habitat destruction and hunting are assumed to be the main reason behind the extinction.