Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) in captivity: A Scenario in Indian Zoos
Keywords:Conservation, Clouded leopard, zoos
Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) is a medium-sized cat having distinct cloud-shaped patches. In India, its range mainly consists of the northeastern states. The species has a long history of being housed in captivity, i.e., in Indian Zoos, and a breeding program for clouded leopards was also initiated in an Indian Zoo. It has been reported that the species is difficult to manage in captivity and little is known about it in terms of its breeding success. The study aims to learn about the history and population scenario of the clouded leopard in Indian zoos. The study of populations serves as an important tool both in terms of management and ex-situ conservation. The data regarding the history of housing clouded leopards in Indian zoos, their sex ratio, birth data, death data, acquisition, disposal, and founder animals were collected from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and National Studbooks. The study's results revealed the history of the clouded leopard being housed at 11 zoos in India, with a decrease in the number of breeding pairs and more mortality compared to the number of births over the years. This study indicates that the genetic management of species and knowing the present constraints in managing species in captivity needs further examination to conserve species more effectively in captivity. An effective species-specific management plan needs to be implemented for the species.
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