Clouded leopard spotted in Thai northeast for first time in 20 years

Images: Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation
Images: Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation

A large wild cat with a tortoise shell-pattern coat was spotted near the Thai-Cambodian border in what wildlife officials say was the first time the animal’s been seen in two decades.

Four photographs of the clouded leopard taken by a camera trap were released this morning by the national parks department. The big kitty was spotted in the Phanom Dong Rak mountains near the Thai-Cambodian border in Isaan, according to Chaiwat Limlikitaksorn, local director of protected areas.

The capture of the rare mammal, whose name is earned by its cloud-like spots, is said by the park chief that it appears for the first time in 20 years. 

Clouded leopards are considered “vulnerable” by the IUCN Red List, with a worldwide population estimated to be fewer than 10,000. It is registered for protection under CITES, the international law protecting wildlife to which Thailand is a signatory. The animal has gone extinct in Singapore and Taiwan.

The leopard was photographed by the camera trap on Nov. 18 after being installed Nov. 1. Before it was removed on Nov. 24, it caught other wildlife including a gazelle, hog badger, dhole and coral-billed ground cuckoo as well as deer.

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