2009: The Clouded Leopard range (geographic distribution) is presented in an embedded customised Google map. Note: the ranges for both Neofelis nebulosa (purple) and the recently classified Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi – blue) are shown. I would like people to collaborate in making it better. That is not because it is not good. It is accurately based on the most up to date range map on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ (Red List) website but all wild cat distribution maps either need constant attention to reflect change or they need refining. I hope people will get involved.
Clouded Leopard Range
Since the 2002 range map in the book Wild Cats Of The World (WoW – Sunquist) the clouded leopards of both Borneo and Sumatra have been assessed as a separate species, Neofelis diardi. For that reason the clouded leopard range of Neofelis diardi is shown as separate in blue highlighter on this page. The names for Neofelis diardi is the Sunda Clouded Leopard, Enkuli Clouded Leopard, Sunda Islands Clouded Leopard or Sundaland Clouded Leopard. The word “Sundaland” refers to the Malay peninsula which includes the islands of Sumatra, Borneo and Java. Perhaps the name is misleading.
It would seem that the clouded leopard range in China is an estimate as it is fast shrinking and this cat is persecuted in China (“illegal hunting is prolific” – Red List). Its habitat is being destroyed in China as well. It is extinct in Taiwan although at 2002 it is referred to as occupying Taiwan by the Sunquists. It also no longer occupies Hainan island of the south coast of China.
There has either been increased fragmentation of the range of Neofelis nebulosa (purple range)since 2002 or there has been a more accurate assessment since then (or both).
Countries within the Sunda Clouded Leopard range are (1) on the island of Borneo:- Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia (Kalimantan, Sumatera) and (2) in Malaysia (Sabah, Sarawak). Note the the Sunquists state that (at 2002) the status of the clouded leopard in Sumatra, in the wild, is “unkown”.
The countries that falll within the clouded leopard range (as at 2009) are: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Peninsular Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam. (Note: this list comes from the Red List. I have modified it in deleting reference to the countries occupied by the Sunda Clouded Leopard, which I presume is a mistake by the Red List as the Red List says that “Neofelis nebulosa is restricted to mainland southeast Asia”.)
In 2002 the Sunquists say that little is known about the clouded leopard in the wild but that it is well represented in zoos. I have used the map to highlight some examples of the threats. Please click on the blue flags
Description of the Appearance of the Clouded Leopard
Knowing the clouded leopard range is one thing, recognising it is another. The photographs opposite are by Lisa Ware of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo – great pics and they say a thousand words but here are some words anyway! In terms of size the clouded leopard falls between the small wild cats that are similar in size to the domestic cat and the large wild cats such as the leopard. Although a large clouded leopard can be about the size of a small leopard. You can see a weight comparison chart here: Wild Cat Species by Size.
The outstanding features are its very long tail for balance (which it need as it is a tree dweller), its fabulous coat with cloud like markings (which has been the cause of it demise) and its very square and large muzzle. Also it has the longest canine teeth of all the cats at 4 cms or longer! The background colour of this cat ranges from greyish brown to light brown and the undersides are usual lighter being white of pale tawny coloured. The classic pattern could be described as extra large rosettes in cat fancy language with a very large open interior to the spots. The pattern resembles the smaller marbled cat.