Thought To Be Extinct Taiwanese Leopard Spotted Recently After Having Disappeared In 1983


The Formosan clouded leopard, a species of large cat long-thought to be extinct, has been seen recently in the wilderness by several people in Taiwan.

This are arduous and unrestrained times with conservationists saying that our planet is currently undergoing the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals, with species becoming extinct at an alarming rate of 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal.

As luck would have it, on occasionally rare times, reports of a species going extinct, could have been diagnosed prematurely, even as it remains endangered.

Such is the case in Taiwan, where the Formosan clouded leopard, a species of large cat last seen in 1983 and declared extinct in 2013, has been sighted in the wilderness by several witnesses across the archipelago’s southeast region, as reported by Taiwan News.


Eye witness accounts claim to have spotted the leopard in the countryside near Taitung County’s Darren Township, where the Paiwan tribal authorities had formed indegenous ranger groups to patrol the region and protect sensitive areas. One such group of rangers spotted the leopard, known as Li’uljaw whom they consider as sacred, climb a tree before scrambling up a cliff to hunt for goats. Another group of people saw the large cat dart past a scooter before scaling a tree and disappearing from sight.

This was very significant for the locals, who held tribal meetings in Alangyi Village to decide on what to do, and how to move forward. Courses of action taken were to hopefully stop outsiders from hunting in the area, and for the village elders to lobby Taiwanese authorities to end logging and other activities that harm the land.


“ I believe this animal still does exist,” professor Liu Chiung-hsi of the National Taitung University’s Department of Life Science told Focus Taiwan News Channel. He also noted that in past investigations on the cat’s whereabouts, he encountered hunters from the indegenous Bunun people who were able to capture the animal during the late 1990’s, but burned the bodies for fear of violating Taiwan’s Wildlife Conservation Act.

Historical records of the Formosan clouded leopard date back to around the 13th century. Indigenous tribesmen would bring the cat’s pelts to trade at the busy markets of port cities like Tainan. It is believed that the only non-indegenous person to have seen a live Formosan clouded leopard was the Japanese anthropologist Torii Ryuzo in 1900.

A team of Taiwanese and U.S. zoologists surveyed the area between 2001 – 2013 but found no evidence of the large cat or traces of it such as tracks, etc., prompting them to declare the Formosan clouded leopard as officially extinct.


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