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Conservation Corner - Conservation Committee Clouded Leopard Project

Posted On: Jan 22nd, 2021

Belle, Clouded LeopardThis week the Conservation Committee would like to better introduce you to the amazing clouded leopard! In the following weeks we will be telling you all about these fascinating cats with a focus on our resident cloudies, Belle and Aurora. Our current fundraiser helps secure a future for their wild counterparts and we need your help to do so! As an introduction, here is some fun information about clouded leopards!

Did you know that clouded leopards are not actually leopards? True leopards are in the genus Panthera, like Katrina, our resident African leopard (Panthera pardus). Clouded leopards are in their own genus, Neofelis. 

Clouded leopards were first discovered in 1821 in southern Asia. They were named for the cloud-like patterns on their coats, which is very different from the rosettes found on other leopards. Since their discovery 200 years ago, we have not managed to learn much more about them. This is what we do know:

  • Clouded leopards have the largest canine teeth in relation to body size of all cats and are the closest living relative to the prehistoric saber-toothed cats.
  • They are mostly solitary until they come together to mate. Occasionally mothers can be seen with young cubs.
  • Cloudies do not purr, but they do make a chuff sound like tigers and snow leopards. A chuff is a pleasant greeting sound.
  • Clouded leopards are primarily arboreal, meaning they spend a lot of time up in trees. They tend to stay off the ground because their geographic range is also shared by tigers and leopards.
  • They have unique ankles that rotate 180 degrees, which allows them to climb down trees headfirst like squirrels!
  • Cloudies are usually nocturnal, which explains why Aurora is always sleeping on exhibit.

We can not wait to tell you all about Belle, Aurora, and their wild counterparts as we raise funds to protect them! If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments and we will try to answer them the best we can! Please visit the link below to make a donation or purchase a clouded leopard inspired gift to help protect wild clouded leopards! Thank you so much!
Click here to support Clouded Leopard Project Now.