CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, lists the Clouded Leopard as an Appendix I species. This means that the Clouded Leopard is among the most endangered of all species. CITES prohibits international trade of Appendix I species except for singularly important reasons such as scientific research. The United States also lists the Clouded Leopard under the Endangered Species Act, further prohibiting trade in the animals or any parts or products made from them. In the countries of its native range, hunting of the Clouded Leopard is prohibited, however these bans are poorly enforced.
They are threatened by a high demand for their attractive pelts, which have ceremonial meaning in Taiwan. Due to the reclusive nature of the clouded leopard, it is difficult to assess how many remain in the wild, but they are highly endangered in some areas, and only relatively stable in others. Deforestation, habitat destruction, and poaching are major concerns for the future of the clouded leopard.
Deforestation, resulting from commercial logging and the growth of human settlements, is thought to be the foremost threat to the clouded leopard. Not only does deforestation remove the clouded leopard's own habitat, but it reduces the number of prey animals.
Rampant habitat loss and fragmentation throughout the clouded leopard forest habitat in Southeast Asia and active poaching of clouded leopards are causing a decline in their already uncertain population. Clouded leopard pelts have increased dramatically in the illegal wildlife trade due to active poaching in Asia.
Hunting of this cat for its fur and teeth as well as its bones, which are prized in the traditional Asian medicinal trade, is another major threat. The clouded leopard has also been featured on the menu of restaurants in China and Thailand which cater to wealthy Asian tourists, and it is sometimes persecuted for killing livestock.
Please sign to ask that these beautiful cats have more protection than what they are getting now and to make the penalties of breaking these laws much harsher. The Clouded Leopards are NOT food, clothing, or medicine. They are magnificent cats that should be more protected!
(Photo courtesy of www.thebigcats.com)