Clouded Leopard Dies at National Zoo Research Facility

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Clouded Leopard Dies at National Zoo Research Facility


Created:6/6/2006 2:03:11 PM

Last Updated:6/7/2006 1:57:07 PM


A 14-year-old male clouded leopard was found dead on Sunday morning, June 4, in its outdoor enclosure at the National Zoo’s Conservation and Research Center (CRC) in Front Royal, Va. The animal was found entangled by its shoulders in a rope hammock, which the clouded leopards use as a perch.


Clouded leopards are mostly arboreal, and these hammocks have been used without incident in the outdoor enclosures for the past decade. A final pathology report may provide information on a cause of death or evidence of what may have precipitated the animal’s entanglement.


There is little known about clouded leopards, which are native to parts of Asia. They are excellent tree climbers and can hang upside down on tree branches. They have short legs, large paws and a long tail, which helps them balance while climbing. They have very long, sharp canine teeth, which are the longest of any cat in proportion to the body.


Clouded leopards are classified as vulnerable, according to The World Conservation Union (IUCN). National Zoo scientists at CRC are studying clouded leopards in American zoos and in Thailand to develop assisted reproduction methods that will help save this species. The Conservation and Research Center participates in an active breeding and conservation program for clouded leopards, although this particular cat was not a part of the program due to its advanced age and previous treatment for testicular cancer. There are 10 remaining clouded leopards at CRC.

For the cats,


Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue

an Educational Sanctuary home

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12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL  33625

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