Dispatch #8: Funding the Wild
Neofelis nebulosa at the Houston Zoo
The clouded leopard is a felid found from the Himalayan foothills through mainland Southeast Asia into China, and has been classified as vulnerable in 2008 by IUCN. Its total population size is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend and no single population numbering more than 1,000 adults.
Females give birth to a litter of two to four cubs after a gestation period of about 85 to 93 days. Initially, the young are blind and helpless, much like the young of many other cats, and weigh from 140 to 280 grams (4.9 to 9.9 oz). Unlike adults, the kittens’ spots are “solid”—completely dark rather than dark rings. The young can see within about 10 days of birth, are active within 5 weeks, and are fully weaned at around 3 month of age.
Clouded leopards attain the adult coat pattern at around six months, and probably become independent after around ten months. They reach sexual maturity at two years of age, and females are able to bear one litter each year. Adults in captivity have lived as long as 17 years. In the wild, they have an average 11 year lifespan. Source
Joel Sartore drives his mobile studio to U.S. zoos to photograph endangered species from around the world.