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Rare sighting of an endangered clouded leopard at Isaan mountain range

Caitlin Ashworth



Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation

An endangered clouded leopard was spotted at a mountain range in the Isaan province Si Sa Ket. The rare sighting, captured using a camera trap, was the first time in about 20 years the wildcat has been seen in the Phnom Dongrak mountain range which borders Cambodia.

Since the park rangers stepped up patrol against poaching and made efforts to increase food and water sources, more small predators like foxes, dholes and leopard cats have been returning to the area, according to director of a local conservation office Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn.

“Today in the Phanom Dong Rak Wildlife Sanctuary there is a clouded leopard, which is a medium sized predator.”

Camera traps were set up by local conservation officials from November 1 to 24, capturing footage of the rare clouded leopard. The cameras also filmed hog deer, Asiatic wild dogs, a Malaysian night heron and a leopard.

The clouded leopard is classified as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The organisation says the leopard is hunted for the illegal wildlife, adding that the leopard skins have been seen in market surveys along with bones used for medicines and meat for exotic dishes.

Clouded Leopard exploitation for pelts are well documented in several countries, including the infamous Tachilek market along the Thai–Myanmar border. The frequency of Clouded Leopard parts available at market indicates increased pressure from hunting…However, the trade of cat parts from Myanmar into Thailand has diminished and reaffirms the role of China in the trade of cats out of Myanmar.

Sightings of the clouded leopard have also been reported at the Kaeng Krachan National Park, Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Khao Sok National Park and Khao Yai National Park.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | IUCN | Thai PBS


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  1. Avatar


    Friday, November 27, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    That’s good news, but maybe not for the Cloud Leopard.

    This may encourage some people to go there hoping for some extra baht during these dark times.

    PS – As for those lowlifes who would make use of such a beautiful animal for “medicines and meat for exotic dishes”, haven’t they ever heard of other natural medicines which will have the very same effect? As to the case of exotic food, they could easily disguise that with some other properly prepared meat, herbs and spices …..

  2. Avatar


    Friday, November 27, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    very true, remember seeing a tiger pelt being stretched and cured in mae hong son not that many years ago,a very sad sight indeed.

  3. Avatar


    Monday, November 30, 2020 at 3:28 am

    I love the image, ghost-like. I’m sure Thai mediums will see an omen in this appearance. I was in Chiang Mai when a Pakistani gem shop owner, close to Night Bazaar, tried to sell me a pair of Tiger claws, the sinew was still attached, with an odor of death.

  4. Avatar

    James Pate

    Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 2:55 am

    Keep that dude from Ital-Thai out of there!

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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