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‘Extinct’ Leopard Spotted In Taiwan For The First Time In Over 30 Years

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There has been a lot of talk about the potential for climate change to wipe out animal and plant species across the planet and that’s certainly concerning. But in some good news, it seems as though an animal that was thought to be extinct has once again resurfaced after many years.

The Formosan clouded leopard (aka Neofelis nebulosa brachyura) was recently spotted in southeast Taiwan. The leopard hasn’t been seen in the wild since the 1980s and was officially declared extinct in 2013. Authorities are currently working on confirming the sightings.

Alangyi Village rangers stated that they have spotted the animal on a cliff in Taitung County’s Daren Township, and the Taitung District Office of the Forestry Bureau then launches an investigation.

The rangers have been searching for the leopard (also known locally as Li’uljaw) since last summer. One set of rangers reported seeing the leopards on a cliff in Taitung County’s Daren Township hunting goats. Another group said that they noticed the wild cat close to their scooters before the animal ran up a tree.

With the Li’uljaw being a symbol of Taiwan’s conservation indicators and a sacred spirit to the Paiwan tribe. the chief conducted a village meeting to discuss the possible sightings of the once thought to be an extinct leopard. They also want to protect from outsiders.

National Taitung University’s Department of Life Science professor Liu Chiung-hsi, said:

“I believe this animal still does exist.”

He also said that it was no surprise that the animal had not been seen for a long time since they are vigilant and avoid human contact.

A lot of scholars and indigenous tribe members were hesitant to officially announce the Formosan clouded leopard to be extinct despite the lack of evidence of its existence before the alleged finding.

The last official sighting of the Formosan clouded leopard was in 1983.

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