January 10, 2024
BANGKOK – A family of three rare clouded leopards were recently spotted by a camera trap at Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary in eastern Thailand, sanctuary chief Weeraphong Korawat announced on Monday.
It was the second sighting of the rare animals in less than a month, after a wild cat was caught on camera at the Thap Lan wildlife corridor in Prachinburi province in mid-December last year.
Though clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa), share some external characteristics with tigers, they have evolved on distinctly different branches of the cat family. Unlike tigers, which belong to the genus Panthera, clouded leopards fall under the genus Neofelis.
Weeraphong said clouded leopards have distinctive characteristics with their large dusky-grey blotches and irregular spots and stripes reminiscent of clouds.
These medium-sized cats are extremely elusive, he added, cable of hiding and sleeping in a tree, and at night can hunt prey both in the trees and on the ground.
He added that this latest discovery raised to five the number of sightings of clouded leopards in Thai forests in the past four years. It is also the first time that an entire family of clouded leopards has been caught on camera, signalling the abundance of nature to be found at Khao Ang Rue Nai sanctuary.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, clouded leopards are sadly classified as a vulnerable species, being threatened with extinction unless the circumstances that threaten its survival and reproduction improve. They are protected under the 2019 Wild Animal Conservation and Protection Act.
The 1,078 sq km Khao Ang Rue Nai sanctuary runs through the heart of Chachoengsao, Chonburi, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Sa Kaeo provinces.