We continue with our special Species Series and introduce you to the cryptic clouded leopard.
The Sunda clouded leopard is the largest predator in Borneo and, like all big cats, is carnivorous. It is distinct from its mainland relative, the clouded leopard, and was classified as its own species in 2006.
It is called a ‘clouded leopard’, because of its large cloud-shaped markings over its body that help it stay camouflaged in the forest. In Indonesia, its common name is ‘macan-dahan’, which literally means ‘branch tiger’, because of its arboreal behaviour (so likes to live in trees).
Clouded leopards are very well adapted to a life in the trees: they have short limbs for a low centre of gravity; and its tail is as long as its body, which helps with balance. Its dependence on trees means that the tropical peat-swamp forest is a very important habitat for this species. It has been classified as ‘Vulnerable‘ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and populations are decreasing due deforestation and the illegal wildlife trade.
Sunda clouded leopards are very elusive creatures and this means that little is known about their behaviour. But, since 2008, OuTrop have used camera traps in the Sabangau Forest to try to learn more about these leopards and other felid species. It has been estimated, from camera trap sightings, that there are around 128 individuals in Sabangau. This means that the population in Sabangau makes up over 5% of the total world population!
Don’t forget to check out our monthly ‘best of’ camera trap footage to see the latest videos and photos of the cryptic clouded leopard.
(the smallest deer in Asia)!