This Saturday, August 4, is the first annual International Clouded Leopard Day! The purpose of this day is to raise awareness of clouded leopards and their status in the wild. Many people have never heard of a clouded leopard and have no idea of the threats facing them. Join us to celebrate this amazing species and to learn about their beauty and charisma and the threats they face in the world!
Clouded leopard populations are decreasing and they’re listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Their habitat in Southeast Asia is undergoing the world’s fastest deforestation rate. They also suffer from the illegal wildlife trade (including poaching for their coat, trade in bones for medicines, meat for exotic dishes and the pet trade).
The clouded leopard has the longest canines relative to body size of any cat, enabling it to catch relatively large prey. A powerful and robust build, short legs, large feet, and a long tail allow the clouded leopard to expertly navigate the forest canopy. It is able to climb down tree trunks headfirst, travel across horizontal branches while hanging beneath them, and hang from branches with its hind feet. These cats are solitary unless caring for young.
You can see Sheegwa, our clouded leopard, in Night Hunters! She came to us from the Nashville Zoo in 2005, when she was 2 years old. All clouded leopards are excellent climbers and are very comfortable high up in the trees. Even though she is now 15 years old, she still plays and runs around her exhibit like crazy at times! She loves to play with her blue enrichment ball and slide down her slide. Sheegwa also loves bamboo, frozen treats and hard boiled eggs.
Because Sheegwa had not been socialized to a lot of humans growing up, she has always been a one person cat. I am lucky enough, and so thankful, to be that person and have a very close bond and trust with her because of it!
So, please join us at Night Hunters in the Cincinnati Zoo on this Saturday, August 4, for fun activities, educational and informative chats and to see our clouded leopard Sheegwa in person!