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AnimalsEndangered Species

Leopard is Extinct Researchers Say

Confirmation of the Formosan clouded leopard’s extinction has been achieved by research scientists from Taiwan. They looked carefully for any signs of them for thirteen years using various forms of technology and no indications were ever documented.

Image Credit: Public Domain
Image Credit: Public Domain

‘A lot of people have said they are disappointed and find our
discovery quite regrettable. Some say they hope not just to feel regret but to do something to save other animals’ said Kurtis Pei, a study leader from National Pingtung University. (Source: CS Monitor) The results of his team’s study, though very disturbing, were not entirely surprising because a study conducted in 1985 had already concluded it was possible none were left.

The usual suspects in wild animal extinctions were in play for the Formosan Cloud Leopard. Habitat loss due to human development projects, poaching and loss of prey animals for food. Taiwan is one of the densest places in the world for human population with 23 million in a very small area.

Though these kinds of situations often initially result in some public outcry and commitment to conservation, it remains to be seen what actually can be done. Some would say human populations are already too large in some areas, and nothing could be done to offer true hope for other species. In Taiwan, there are other species that are vulnerable to extinction for the same reasons, such as the Formosan black bear. There may as few as 1,000 of these smallish bears left on the island.

Though there are some conservation measures that may help, the human population is still growing very slightly in Taiwan. Human overpopulation is the main issue, because it impacts so many different aspects of the natural world. If you give it any consideration, it is easy to see there is quite a surplus of humans and our demands upon the natural world are extreme.

The idea of reintroducing some of the surviving clouded leopards from the Himalayas has been floated, but this seems like it could backfire badly. The existing human culture on the island has demonstrated it is probably very incompatible with clouded leopards by driving them into extinction. Why jeopardize the survivors by capturing and trying to relocate them?




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