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clouded leopard

Small and medium-sized wild cat species (~2 - 20 kg, non-Panthera species) in Laos remain little known. So far, four species are known to occur in the country: Least Concern leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis, Near Threatened Asian golden cat Catopuma temminckii, Vulnerable (VU) marbled cat Pardofelis marmorata, VU clouded leopard P. nebulosa. Although all four were confirmed, only 21 images were captured of these species in the Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area (NNT NPA) during a camera-trap survey of 20,452 camera trap-days, from March 2006 to January 2011. In contrast, all these species were found with much lower survey efforts in NNT NPA in the 1990s and continue to be readily camera-trapped in other evergreen forest sites in South-east Asia. In combination, these factors indicate that the present low encounter rate is likely to represent their induced low density in NNT NPA. Although the area supports over 3000 km˛ of largely little-encroached forest, hunting pressure from Lao and mostly Vietnamese poachers is responsible for the vanishing populations of these now-rare species in the area. This is a consequence of the remarkable amount of non-selective ground snares used as the main hunting technique throughout most of the area. Because of its size and habitat condition, NNT NPA should be one of the most important areas in the country and the region for the conservation of small carnivore species including wild cats, but this importance is rapidly eroding. Therefore, action is urgently needed to control illegal hunting in the area for the conservation of non-Panthera wild cat species.

Read the full paper:

Coudrat, C.N.Z.
, Nanthavong, C., Sayavong, S., Johnson, A., Johnston, J. and Robichaud, W.G.
2014. Low abundance of small medium-sized wild cat species in large primary forests: a case study of Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area, Lao PDR. IUCN/SSC Cat News. Special Issue 8: 45-52. [PDF]