Clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa) are a native species of Myanmar currently with vulnerable status due to a number of threats including direct exploitation (wildlife trade), range fragmentation, and reduction in habitat quality.
The Wildlife Conservation Society has been collaborating with WildCRU on the conservation of this iconic species in Myanmar for several years following an innovative holistic approach.
In order to unleash a unique and long term synergy, the project team at WCS employs a new holistic methodology to design clouded leopard conservation activities:
- perform original scientific research of the species population,
- engage and develop the technical capacity of local communities,
- educate local communities in conservation values,
- implement solutions for long-term sustainability of the species habitat.
The current project focuses on the Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary in the Sagaing Region of Myanmar, and is hoped will lead to the designation of a new protected corridor connecting populations of not only clouded leopards, but also tigers and other wildlife.
“Clouded leopards are a charismatic, potential ambassador species, but are also victims of illegal wildlife trade and devastating habitat loss,” explains Professor Macdonald from the University of Oxford. “Their protection has the potential to be linked to carbon conservation, which will have an impact upon environmental conservation and management far beyond this species”.
In fact, the project is already providing the first density estimates of clouded leopards in the region.
“We are so excited that our partnership with WildCRU benefits Myanmar, not only in terms of training and capacity building, but also in very practical and original fieldwork that is likely to have far reaching policy consequences,” says U Saw Htun, Deputy Director of WCS Myanmar.