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CLOUDED LEOPARD (NEOFELIS NEBULOSA)

Related Topics: Environment & Biodiversity, Wildlife Protection

 

Why in News

A research paper published by over 20 researchers from across the globe has helped understand clouded leopard’s habitats, migration corridors and laid out the conservation strategies.

 

Research

  • By using over 3,000 trap locations spread over 45 sites, the model looked at nine countries (Bhutan, Nepal, India, Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar) and suggested that only 9.44% of the studied region was ‘highly’ suitable for clouded leopards.
  • Clouded leopard presence was positively associated with forest cover and rain, suggesting that deforestation and reduction in rainfall patterns as a result of climate change may negatively influence clouded leopard distributions.

 

Indian Scenario

  • In India, the Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram was chosen as the study site.
  • Dampa was one of the tiger reserves where tigers were estimated to be zero as part of the latest all India tiger estimation exercise.
  • Dampa had one of the highest population densities of clouded leopards, from the sites surveyed.
  • With over 350 sq. km. of prey rich forests, very low human presence, and a terrain that is very hard to access, which generally works acts as a deterrent to human movement, aids the survival of clouded leopards here.

 

About Clouded Leopard

  • They are named after the cloud-shaped patterns on its skin.
  • They are typical rain-forest dwellers but can also be found in the drier forests of Southeast Asia.
  • It has relatively short legs and broad paws which make it excellent at climbing trees.
  • In India, it occurs in North-East and West Bengal.
  • It is the state animal of Meghalaya.
  • They are listed as Vulnerable in IUCN red list.
  • Clouded leopards primarily live in lowland tropical rainforests, but can also be found in dry woodlands and secondary forests.

 

[Source: The Hindu]

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