‘Extinct’ Clouded Leopard Spotted for the First Time in 37 Years in Taiwan

March 22, 2020 at 2:50 pm

Animals lovers rejoice, the Formosan clouded leopard has been spotted by Taiwanese rangers for the first since 1983.

After close to a year of searching, Alangyi Village rangers spotted these clouded leopards on two different occasions.

The rangers first sighted multiple clouded leopards hunting goats on a cliff, then, after being tipped off, one was seen near some scooters before running up a tree.

The Formosan clouded leopard is a subspecies of the clouded leopard, which has been on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s vulnerable list since 2008.

Known for their dusky-grey markings, these majestic casts have a long and mysterious history.

Excessive logging drove these clouded leopards from the foothills of Southeast Asia to the upper parts of the Yushan Mountain Range.

The further up they were pushed, the less they were seen. The sightings become so rare, that in 2013, they were declared extinct.

However, over the last few years, according to locals in the Paiwan tribe, this precious cat has been seen more and more.

Known by the tribe as “Li’ uljaw” they value the Formosan clouded leopard as a sacred spirit animal.

The increased sightings led the village chief to call upon its community to see how to best preserve the endangered animal. Working with Tiawan’s government, they will attempt to keep outsiders from hunting them.

Village elders are also urging the Forestry Bureau to cease activities like logging, which keeps the skittish and rare leopards from coming out of hiding.

Along with protecting these clouded leopards, the Taitung Forest District is looking to start scientific research on them, once the sightings can be further documented and confirmed.