Neofelis nebulosa   (Griffith)


 
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Formosan Clouded Leopard
(Neofelis nebulosa brachyura ((Griffith) Swinhoe)))

 
syn. Leopardus brachyurus (Swinhoe)

 
distribution:

Taiwan

 
local name: -

 
size: ca. 1,9 m (length including tail)

extinction date: early 20th century

 
The Clouded Leopard (meanwhile actually the Clouded Leopards, as there are two species recognized now) is a beautifully coloured wild cat and therefore it is no wonder at all, that the fur industry took pleasure in this animal too (and still takes).

Extensive hunting, and by far less the destruction of the habitat, led to the extinction of the taiwanese subspecies. This probably happened already in the early 20th century.

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In the year 1983 the 'China Times' printed a photograph of an dead young Clouded Leopard, trapped in a pitfall, which was supposed to have been photographed on Taiwan.

Yet from the, quite grainy and unclear photograph nothing could be said about the taxonomic identity of the animal shown in the picture. However pitfalls, lined with sharpened bamboo stakes, as shown in the picture, are almost completely unknown in Taiwan, resp. aren't used by the native hunters, which prefer snares to catch animals.

Later search operations in the year 1985 in the area of the Dawu Mountain, where the photograph was supposed to have been made, led to no find, but anyhow achieved, that this area was declared to the island's largest nature reserve in the year 1988.

 
left:

Formosan Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa brachyura)


Depiction from 'R. Swinhoe: On the Mammals of the Island of Formosa (China). Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1862, 347-365'

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

 
References:

- Andrew C. Kitchener; Mark A. Beaumont; Douglas Richardson: Geographical Variation in the Clouded Leopard, Neofelis nebulosa, Reveals Two Species. Current Biology 16, 2377-2383, 2006
- Timothy Ferry: In Search of Taiwan's Clouded Leopard. Taiwan Review 2009