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The Formosan clouded leopard (aka Neofelis nebulosa brachyura), a specie of big cat added to the list of extinct species in 2013, was recently spotted in southeast Taiwan. If it turns out to be true, can we petition for the specie's name to changed to "The Lazarus leopard"?
In particular, it was rangers — appointed by the Paiwan Tribe — of the Alangyi Village who claimed to see the animals last June, hunting mountain goats, running past scooters, and scrambling up trees in Taitung County. Once these eye witness accounts were reported, the Taitung District Office of the Forestry Bureau decided to actively confirm the sighting.
For context, there have been no confirmed sightings since 1983. The official scientific investigation was confirmed by Huang Chun-tse, the deputy director of Taitung Forest District Office.
The Paiwan Tribe, which calls the leopard "Li' uljaw," wants to help make it easier for the cats to show themselves; before then, they will remain on the extinct species list. As a result, a group of village elders urged the Forestry Bureau to cease activities like logging, which are keeping the skittish and rare leopards at bay.
Liu Chiung-hsi, a professor at the National Taitung University of Department of Life Sciences, said he had spoken with hunters of the Bunun people, an aboriginal group native to Taiwan. These hunters admitted that they had captured and killed an undisclosed number of clouded leopards in the late 1990s, but burned the remains for fear of breaching the country's Wildlife Conservation Act. Per Chiung-hsi, however, the felines are, generally, difficult to hunt and trap because they are extremely wary.
This is the second bit of miraculous animal-related news this week. On Monday, we reported that the carcass of a juvenile humpback whale had been discovered in the Amazon rainforest. Next thing you know, we’ll be cloning dinosaurs!