Unfortunately, environmental and zoological news is often mostly depressing. Due to climate change, poaching, habitat destruction, pollution and any other increasing number of factors, more and more animals are finding themselves on the "endangered species" list. Which is obviously incredibly upsetting. Sometimes though, there's a little bit of good news.
Like the Formosan Clouded Leopard, who may have spent the last thirty years hiding. Or so we're all hoping. After not being seen for over thirty years, the leopard was officially declared extinct in 2013. There have been a few sightings by locals recently, leaving experts to hope that maybe it wasn't extinct after all.
Taiwan News reported several sightings of the Formosan clouded leopard hunting goats in the southeast of the country.
Since last June, Alangyi Village has teams of rangers patrolling traditional areas. Two groups of rangers have seen the leopard, or, as the Paiwan call it "Li' uljaw."
🔥 This is a Formosan clouded leopard from Taiwan, it was thought to be extinct until it was spotted this week. The last time it was seen was 1983 pic.twitter.com/ijme0W7VvQ— Nature, You Lit! (@NatureSuperLit) March 1, 2019
Liu Chiung-hsi, a professor at the National Taitung University's Department of Life Sciences and ecologist believes the animal still does exist. The clouded leopard is known to be agile and vigilant, so the fact that they are infrequently spotted is not surprising.
Professor Liu has been investigating the clouded leopard in the past and noted that in the late 1990s, he spoke to hunters who admitted to hunting the animals on a few occasions. They burnt the bodies, however, so as not to violate Taiwan's Wildlife Conservation Act.
The following photograph was taken in around 1990 by Japanese anthropologist Torii Ryūzō. It depicts an indigenous Rukai man wearing what is assumed to be a vest made from the pelt of a Formosan clouded leopard.
The animals hold special significance for the Indigenous community, so although scientists want to investigate the existence of the Formosan clouded leopards they will be consulting with the tribe to ensure respect for the area and the people.
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