Formosan clouded leopard

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Formosan clouded leopard
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Neofelis
Species: N. nebulosa
Subspecies: N. n. brachyura
Trinomial name
Neofelis nebulosa brachyura
(Swinhoe, 1862)

The Formosan clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa brachyura) is a clouded leopard subspecies that is endemic to the island of Taiwan. A camera trapping study carried out in the largest remaining lowland primary forest in southern Taiwan during 2000 to 2004 did not reveal the presence of a clouded leopard.[2]


In his first description of 1862, Swinhoe notes the shortness of the tail, which is about one-half the length of clouded leopard specimens from the Himalayas.[3]

Last records[edit]

Specimen in the National Taiwan Museum

The Formosan clouded leopard was Taiwan's second-largest carnivore, after the Formosan black bear. Following extensive logging of its natural habitat, clouded leopards retreated into the Jade Mountain and Tawu Mountain. Today, the Tawu Mountain Nature Reserve is a protected area encompassing about 480 km2 (190 sq mi) that harbours the largest remaining primary forest in southern Taiwan and comprises tropical and subtropical rainforest as well as temperate broadleaf and mixed forest and temperate coniferous forest.[2]

An interview survey conducted in 1986 among 70 indigenous hunters revealed that the last confirmed sighting of a Formosan clouded leopard occurred in the Tawu Mountain area in 1983.[4] The last confirmed record dates to 1989, when the skin of a young individual was found in the Taroko area.[5]

Pugmark records reported in the 1990s near the Yushan National Park were suspected, but not confirmed to be of a clouded leopard.[6][7]

In more than 13,000 camera trap nights during 2000 to 2004, no photo of a clouded leopard was obtained in the Tawu Mountain Nature Reserve and the adjacent Twin-ghost Lake Important Wildlife Area.[2]

In culture[edit]

Taiwanese Aboriginal male (identified as Rukai 魯凱族) wearing a clouded leopard fur. Photograph by the Japanese anthropologist Torii Ryūzō is undated, but was most likely taken around 1900, when he was in Taiwan.

The Rukai, Taiwanese aborigines, considered the hunting of clouded leopards a taboo.[8]


  1. ^ Elizabeth, Hsu (30 April 2013). "Taiwan's clouded leopard extinct: zoologists". Focus Taiwan. Central News Agency. 
  2. ^ a b c Chiang, P.-J. (2007). Ecology and Conservation of the Formosan clouded leopard, its prey, and other sympatric carnivores in southern Taiwan. PhD dissertation submitted to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia.
  3. ^ Swinhoe, R. (1862). On the Mammals of the Island of Formosa. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London: 347–365.
  4. ^ Rabinowitz, A. (1988). The clouded leopard in Taiwan. Oryx 22 (1): 46–47.
  5. ^ Anonymous. (1996). The mystery of the Formosan clouded leopard. Cat News 24: 16.
  6. ^ Lue, K. Y., W. S. Chang and B. Z. Hwa (1992). The Faunal Investigation on Yu-Li Wildlife Nature Reserve. Report Taiwan Forest Bureau Conservation and Research Series, No. 79-02.
  7. ^ Wang, Y., Y. Chen, and C. Lai (1996). Wildlife population study and monitor at Nan-Tzy-Shian River watershed area. Conservation and Planning Administration, Ministry of Interior, Taiwan.
  8. ^ Pei, K. (1999). Hunting System of the Rukai Tribe in Taiwan, Republic of China. Proceedings of the International Union of Game Biologists XXIV Congress, Thessaloniki, Greece.

External links[edit]