In news: a research paper published by over 20 researchers from across the globe has helped understand clouded leopard’s habitats, migration corridors and laid out the conservation strategies.

More about the news:

  • By using over 3,000 trap locations spread over 45 sites, the model looked at nine countries (Bhutan, Nepal, India, Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar) and suggested that only 9.44% of the studied region was ‘highly’ suitable for clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa).
  • In India, the Dampa tiger reserve in Mizoram was chosen as the study site. 

About Dampa tiger reserve

  • Dampa has been much in the news lately as one of the tiger reserves where tigers were estimated to be zero as part of the latest all India tiger estimation exercise.
  • Dampa had one of the highest population densities of clouded leopards, from the sites surveyed. 

About Clouded leopard

  • Physical Description: It is named after the distinctive 'clouds' on its coat - ellipses partially edged in black, with the insides a darker colour than the background colour of the pelt. 
  • It has short legs and broad paws which make it excellent at climbing trees. Range: Historically, their range covered most of Southeast Asia from Nepal & southern China through Thailand, Indonesia, and Borneo. 
  • In India, it occurs in north-east and West Bengal. 
  • In 2018, India added clouded leopards to its Recovery Programme for Critically Endangered Species to aid more research and strengthen conservation efforts.
  • Conservation status:It is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN red list