Borneo’s clouded leopard proves to be new cat species


This is a clouded leopard video.

From WWF:

15 Mar 2007

Gland, Switzerland – Scientists have discovered that the clouded leopard found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra is an entirely new species of cat.

The secretive rainforest animal was originally thought to be the same species as the one found in mainland South-east Asia.

The news comes just a few weeks after a WWF report showed that scientists had identified at least 52 new species of animals and plants over the past year on Borneo.

“Who said a leopard can never change its spots?” said Stuart Chapman, WWF International Coordinator of the Heart of Borneo programme.

“For over a hundred years we have been looking at this animal and never realized it was unique.

The fact that Borneo’s top predator is now considered a separate species further emphasizes the importance of conserving one of the most biologically diverse habitats on Earth.”

Researchers at the US National Cancer Institute say the differences between the Borneo and mainland clouded leopard were found to be comparable to the differences between other large cat species such as lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar and snow leopard.

They believe the Borneo population likely diverged from the mainland population some 1.4 million years ago.

“Genetic research results clearly indicate that the clouded leopards of Borneo should be considered a separate species,” said Dr Stephen O’Brien, Head of the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, US National Cancer Institute.

“DNA tests highlighted around 40 differences between the two species.” …

The Borneo clouded leopard has small cloud markings, many distinct spots within the cloud markings, grey fur and a double dorsal stripe. It is darker than the mainland species.

Clouded leopards from the mainland have large clouds on their skin with fewer, often faint, spots within the cloud markings.

They are lighter in colour, with a tendency toward tawny-coloured fur and a partial double dorsal stripe.

By taking into consideration the forest conditions in Borneo, a total number of 5,000 to 11,000 Bornean clouded leopards are estimated to live there.

The total number in Sumatra could be in the range of 3,000 to 7,000 individuals. However, further studies are needed to obtain better population data.

See also here.

And here.

And here.

See video of the newly recognized Bornean species here.

The natural history museum in Leiden in The Netherlands has found out they have both species in their collection, they said in a NOS TV interview today.

Clouded leopard cubs to be released into the wild in India – Can you help? Here.

Snow leopard: here.

4 thoughts on “Borneo’s clouded leopard proves to be new cat species

  1. Pingback: DNA research finds new animal species | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Biology and classification in the museum | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: A Visual Guide to Cats | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: DNA research finds new animal species | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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