International Clouded Leopard Day (ICLD) is a day of international awareness and an attempt to increase the profile of Clouded leopards both in captivity and in the wild. Celebrated each year on 4th August, The Aspinall Foundation held the first ever Clouded Leopard Day on 4th August 2018 at Howlett’s Wild Animal Park, Kent, in the United Kingdom.
Organisers of ICLD are Lauren Amos and Dan Kemp, two carnivore keepers from Howletts who work with this shy and elusive species on a daily basis. The objective is to raise awareness and unite conservation thinking amongst zoological collections, charities, NGO’s, businesses and all those with an interest in one of the world`s most beautiful and iconic cats, the Clouded leopard.
Although we don't have an event planned for this year's International Clouded Leopard Day due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will be using our social media channels in the lead up to and on 4th August to encourage people around the globe to celebrate in their own creative ways. We'd love to see what you come up with so please share your crafts, bakes and other ideas with us!
About Clouded Leopards
Clouded leopards inhabit central and south East Asia.
There are two recognised species. The “mainland” Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) native to the Asian mainland and the Sunda Clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.
Nocturnal & shy
In the wild, Clouded leopards are nocturnal and extremely shy avoiding human beings whenever and wherever possible.
Consequently very little is known about their habits or behaviour and as a result a lot of our primary knowledge, about such things as reproduction and lifestyle, comes from the management and study of the captive population in the worlds zoo`s and wildlife parks.
Difficult to breed
Clouded leopards are notoriously difficult to breed in captivity and Howlett’s Wild Animal Park is a key player in terms of our overall breeding success with this species.
Clouded Leopards at Howletts
Howletts holds the European studbook for clouded leopards, which means the animals are genetically managed as a single meta-population to maximise the overall opportunities for all animals held in European zoos to operate as a viable and functioning breeding population.
Here at Howletts Wild Animal Park we house a current total of 12 individuals.
At the front of our Clouded leopard area (next to the Walking with Lemurs) is our biggest Clouded leopard, Tai Wada who arrived from Smithsonian’s National Zoo, USA. He’s a very chatty cat especially when it comes to feeding time or when keepers give him a nice selection of perfumes and fresh mint to investigate.
Along the Woodland walk is Matsi, a very sweet natured female who is easy to spot because she has 3 legs after an incident as a youngster. Despite this she is probably one of our most visible as she is always on the go! Matsi is one of our top breeding individuals.
Celebrate International Clouded Leopard Day your own way!
Every species on earth has its own unique role to play in maintaining an over-arching ecological balance both in life and in nature. Whether this is through managing prey based animal numbers, ensuring seed dispersal, looking after grasslands or simply by maintaining a healthy genetic diversity that ensures the survival of any given species. Everything has purpose.
The juggernaut that is human kind continues to overwhelm and over power nature at a pace that is both relentless and insatiable. We become immune to the warnings of those who foretell us of the loss of species, forests and ocean life. The hope is that in some small way raising the awareness of the plight of the Clouded leopard may somehow help this most beautiful of cats in the wild and provide us with a greater understanding of its needs.
"In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we understand only what we are taught" – Baba Dioum
Visit our clouded leopards
Although we aren't running a special event this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, you can still visit us at Howletts Wild Animal Park on 4th August to see our beautiful cats - you can book your tickets online here
Download our Clouded leopard fact sheet
learn all about one of the most beautiful cats in the world. Download fact sheet here.
Together we can change the future for the Clouded leopard - donate to our Clouded leopard conservation project here. Please reference Clouded leopard in the comments box :)