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The clouded leopard discovered in Asia

Updated on October 10, 2008
 

Every year scientists and others discover new specials of insects, birds and mammals all over the world. A few years back a new cat species, The Borneo Clouded Leopard was discovered. Hidden deep in the jungles of the Borneo Island in southeast Asia, this cat is beautiful and much smaller then your typical jungle cat. The clouded Leopard is about 2 to 3 feet in length and up to 3 ft in height, they can weigh up to 50lbs, and due to the small numbers of these cats left the species is considered vulnerable and threatened.

There are currently two types of clouded leopards, the Borneo and the Sumatra. Scientific research show that the two leopards should be considered a different species, DNA test from the laboratory of Genomic Diversity, at the U.S. National Cancer Institute highlighted around 40 differences between the two species. They two appear to have diverged about 1.4 millions years ago. Difference in the coat colour and the difference in the geographical locations separate them as well.

The boreno clouded leopard
The boreno clouded leopard

The Borneo leopard is generally darker and has small cloud markings, with greyer fur and a double torso strip. Although this is a small species it is however the largest predator in Borneo. The WWF has been active in conservatory effort to help these creatures. It is estimated that there are between 5000- 11,000 clouded leopard on the island of Borneo, the habitat is threatened by destruction and poaching for its fur. And believe it or not some restaurants even serve the cat as a delicacy.

These beautiful Asian cats obviously named for its spotted coat, are seldom seen in the wild and they remain to be a bit mysterious. Living in the rainforest the leopard a are considered great climbers, as most cats are considered great climbers the clouded leopard is considered the top in its class. They are great hunters with tremendous eyes site which allow them to judge distance very well for jumping and pouncing. The leopard long tail keeps it balanced when roaming through the jungle trees. Their large canine like teeth allow for easy grabbing while hunting, the leopards are known to eat such critters as deer, pigs, monkeys, and other smaller creatures like squirrels and birds. As far as we know these animals usually have a litter of one to five every year and stay with their mothers for up to a year.

If anyone would like to help the conservatory efforts to help save these creatures and their habitat go to Smithsonian National Zoological Park: Adopt a Clouded Leopard Or Clouded Leopard Society.

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