International Clouded Leopard Day Date in the current year: August 4, 2022

International Clouded Leopard Day International Clouded Leopard Day is observed on August 4 to raise awareness of a vulnerable leopard species native to Southeast Asia. It was founded in 2018 by The Aspinall Foundation and observed for the first time at Howletts Wild Animal Park in Kent, England.

The clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) and the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) are wild cats that belong to the Pantherinae subfamily, along with jaguar, leopard, lion, tiger, and snow leopard.

They are the only two extant species of the Neofelis genus. Moreover, the mainland clouded leopard and the Sunda clouded leopard were considered the same species prior to 2006. The third species — the Formosan clouded leopard endemic to Taiwan — was declared extinct in 2013, but there have been alleged sightings since then.

The mainland clouded leopard inhabits dense forests in mainland Southeast Asia, while the Sunda clouded leopard is native to the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra. Both clouded leopard species are medium-sized cats marked with small irregular cloud-like spots that inspired the name “clouded leopard”. Sunda clouded leopards have darker fur with a smaller pattern than their mainland counterparts.

Both species of the clouded leopard are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The two main threats that clouded leopards face are habitat loss due to deforestation and, to a lesser extent, poaching for meat, bones, skin, claws, and teeth.

As of 2020, the number of mainland clouded leopards was estimated at between 3,700 and 5,580 mature individuals, and the number of Sunda clouded leopards was estimated at 4,500 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend. The elusiveness and nocturnal lifestyle makes clouded leopards difficult to study, assess their numbers and manage their population.

International Clouded Leopard Day was launched in 2018 to raise awareness of the plight of clouded leopards and highlight the importance of their research and conservation. The inaugural International Clouded Leopard Day was observed on August 1, 2018. Its main events were held by The Aspinall Foundation, a British wildlife conservation charity, at Howletts Wild Animal Park it owns.

A number of zoos and conservation organizations joined the celebration and organized events of their own or at least promoted the new awareness day on their social media. They included the Cincinnati Zoo, Peppermint Narwhal, The Big Cat Sanctuary in Ashford, the Association of British and Irish Wild Animal Keepers (ABWAK), the Wanicare Foundation, and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington.

The celebration of International Clouded Leopard Day has been growing since then. You can observe the holiday by attending a zoo that has clouded leopards if you’re lucky to have one nearby, learning more about these fascinating and elusive cats, donating to a wildlife charity that supports the preservation and conservation of clouded leopards, and posting on social media with the hashtag #InternationalCloudedLeopardDay.

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Category

International Observances, Ecological Observances

Tags

International Clouded Leopard Day, international observances, environmental observances, clouded leopard, vulnerable species