July 23, 2009

Clouded Leopard Released After Being Caged

On Thursday, Bangladeshi conservationists said that the discovery of a rare leopard captured by villagers in the southeast part of the county renewed hopes for the survival of the critically endangered species.

Chief executive of Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh, professor Anwarul Islam, said that the thee-month old clouded leopard cub was released back into the wild.

He said that for the past three weeks, villagers in the remote Chittagong Hill Tracts region, which borders Myanmar and Mizoram state of India, had caged the cub.

"Locals stumbled upon two cubs and their mother eating a monkey in the district of Rangimati three weeks ago. They were only able to capture one cub," he said

"It was tremendous news because many conservationists thought the animal was extinct from Bangladesh due to habitat loss."

According to Islam, in most cases when a rare species is captured, villagers sell the animals, but in this case conservationists convinced them to release it back into the wild.

He also said that the species is timid and nocturnal and little is known about it.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed the clouded leopard as critically endangered, with 100,000 of the species believed to still be living worldwide.

The big cat is mostly found in South and Southeast Asian countries, and the latest sightings of the animal have been in Bangladesh during 1992 and 2005.


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