A clouded future: Asia’s enigmatic clouded leopard threatened by palm oil

The clouded leopard is so elusive that we didn’t know there were two species of this cat until 2006. Its elusiveness has made conservation efforts very difficult. Although both species are listed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN, we know very little about their behavior or ecology. Because of this, they have been largely overlooked by both conservationists and the public.

It is known, however, that palm oil production is greatly affecting the clouded leopard. The clouded leopard’s habitat lies within three of the world’s top palm oil producing nations: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Palm oil production is destroying the natural habitat of this small big cat, and it is difficult to know how the cat will adapt to these huge changes. Along with palm oil, poaching, trapping, and a decline in prey have also negatively affected the clouded leopard.

Read more about the different challenges, solutions, and future predictions that palm oil production will have on the clouded leopard in Mongabay’s recent article, featuring S.P.E.C.I.E.S. director and founder Anthony Giordano, here.