Clouded Leopard

(Neofelis nebulosa (including Neofelis diardi))


Clouded Leopard IUCN VULNERABLE (VU)


Facts about this animal

The clouded leopard, named for the cloud-like spots of its coat that provide camouflage in its forest habitat, is the most arboreal of all large cat species and among the best climbers in the cat family. Clouded leopards are able to climb upside down underneath tree branches and hang from branches with their hind feet. Several adaptations allow them to achieve these arboreal skills. The short and stout legs provide excellent leverage and a low centre of gravity while climbing. Large paws with sharp claws allow to gain a good grip on tree branches. The very long tail is extremely important as a balancing aid. The hind feet possess flexible ankle joints that allow the foot to rotate greatly. This adaptation allows clouded leopards to descend, squirrel-like, head first from a tree.

Did you know?
That the clouded leopard has the largest canine teeth in proportion to its body size of any of the cat family? A clouded leopard's jaws can open wider than any other cat's, and its tooth development is most like that of the extinct saber-toothed tiger with the canine teeth being 5 cm long.


Name (Scientific) Neofelis nebulosa (including Neofelis diardi)
Name (English) Clouded Leopard
Name (French) Panthère nébuleuse, Panthère longibande
Name (German) Nebelparder
Name (Spanish) Pantera longibanda, Pantera nebulosa
Local names Bahasa: Macan dahan
Malay: Rimaudahan
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Vearl Brown



Range Southeast Asia. Most recently, the clouded leopard has been split into two monotypic species: Neofelis nebulosa of Bhutan, China, India, Lao PDR, peninsular Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Taiwan, Thailand and Viet Nam, possibly also still Bangladesh and Cambodia, and Neofelis diardi of Sumatra and Borneo (Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia). More recently, splitting of diardi into two subspecies, sumatrensis and borneensis has been suggested.
Habitat Dense evergreen forest in the lowlands and hills, including swamps and high grass areas
Wild population Approx. < 10'000 (1996)
Zoo population 255 (114.140.1) registered by the International Studbook (31 Dec. 2008) in 72 Institutions. 159 reported to ISIS (April 2009)

In the Zoo

Clouded Leopard


How this animal should be transported

Transport crates should be sufficiently large to meet legal requirements, sufficiently strong to prevent escape or damage to the crate and animal, and have an adequate number of handles. Basic design should allow free flow of air through multiple sides of the container. A double door design on each end of the crate should be used. The "inner" door on each end should have bars to contain the animal, and the "outer" door should consist of a thin panel of expanded metal that provides safety for the handlers. The doors on each end of the crate should travel vertically to facilitate animal transfer and contain a secure locking system. The crate should drain well, and absorbent bedding should be used to prevent the animal from being exposed to or lying in urine or excreta. The crate should be of a size that allows easy lifting, transport and movement through doorways.


The shipment should be organised in a way to minimise stress. The animal should have access to its transport crate for 2 weeks before shipment, preferably being fed within it. If an extended trip is anticipated, water and eventually food should be provided while the animal is in transit. Ideally one of the animal's keepers should accompany it during transport, providing for its care and helping it adjust to the new environment.


For air transport, Container Note 72 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


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Why do zoos keep this animal

The clouded leopard is a vulnerable species with a relatively small total population. In 1973, when the species was heavily traded for its fur, an International Studbook was established under the WAZA umbrella, and zoos maintain now a largely self-sustained reserve population managed under several regional conservation breeding programmes. The clouded leopard, being a highly specialized cat species is also an interesting subject for environmental education. If well presented it is a good ambassador for its threatened forest ecosystem.