Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) in captivity: A Scenario in Indian Zoos


  • Natasha Sethi Amity institute of forestry and wildlife, amity university campus, sector-125, Noida- 201 303, Gautam Buddha Nagar, U.P. India. email:
  • Netrapal Singh Chauhan Amity institute of forestry and wildlife, amity university campus, sector-125, Noida- 201 303, Gautam Buddha Nagar, U.P. India. email:
  • Dwijender Nath Singh Former-member secretary, central zoo authority, ministry of environment, forest and climate change, the government of India, New Delhi, India



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.


Achariyo, L. N., & Mishra, Ch. G. (1981). Some notes on the longevity of two species of Indian wild cats in captivity. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 78: 155.

Achariyo, L. N., & Patnaik, S.K. (1990). Management of lesser cats at Nandankanan zoo. Zoos’ Print. 2: 1-3.

Austin, S. C., & Tewes, M. E. (1999). Ecology of the clouded leopard in Khao Yai National Park, Thailand. Cat News 31: 17–18.

Bashir, T., Bhattacharya, T., Poudyal, K., & Sathyakumar, S. (2011). Notable observations on the melanistic Asiatic Golden cat (Pardofelis temminckii) of Sikkim, India. NeBIO 2(1): 1-4.

Baudy, R.E. (1971). Notes on breeding felids at the rare feline center. Intl Zoo Yrbk:11.

Borah, J., Sharma, T., Das, D., Rabha, N., Kakati, N., Basumatary, A., Ahmed, M. F., & Vattakaven, J. (2014). Abundance and density estimates for common leopard Panthera pardus and clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa in Manas National Park, Assam, India. Oryx 48(1): 149-155.

Brakefield, T. (1993). Big Cats: Kingdom of Might. Voyageur Press: St. Paul, MN. 135-143.

Brown, J.L., Wildt, D.E., Laura, Graham, H., Byers, A. P., Collins, L., Barrett, S., & Howard, J. (1995). Natural versus chorionic gonadotropin-induced ovarian responses in the Clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa assessed by fecal steroid analysis. Biology of reproduction 53, 93-102.

Central Zoo Authority

Central Zoo Authority, Annual reports of the zoos for the year 1995 to 2018.

Central Zoo Authority, Annual inventory of animals in the zoos for the year 1995 to 2018-

Central Zoo Authority, Conservation Breeding Programme.

Courtenay, J., & Santow, G. (1989). Mortality of Wild and Captive Chimpanzees. Folia Primatol. 52: 167-177.

Fazio, J. M. (2010). Behavioral Assessment of the Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa): A Comparative Study of Reproductive Success (MSc). Fairfax, VA: George Mason University.

Fletchall, N. (2007). Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) Species Survival Plan Masterplan 2007. Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa Species Survival Plan Master planning meeting; In: Felid Taxon Advisory Group TAG Association of Zoos and Aquariums 2007 Annual Report. Ed. Jason Herrick, Norah Fletchall and William Swanson. Nashville Zoo, Tennessee.

Grassman, Jr., Tewes, L.I., Silvy, M.E., & Kreetiyutanont, K. (2005). Ecology of three sympatric felids in a mixed evergreen forest in North-central Thailand. Journal of Mammalogy 86: 29-38.;2

Gray, T., Borah, J., Coudrat, C.N.Z., Ghimirey, Y., Giordano, A., Greenspan, E., Petersen, W., Rostro-García, S., Shariff, M. & Wai-Ming, W. (2021). Neofelis nebulosa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T14519A198843258. 2.RLTS.T14519A198843258.en

Howard, J.G., Byers, A.P., Brown, J.L., Barrett, S.J., Evans, M.Z., Schwartz, R.J., & Wildt, D.E. (1996). RS ovulation induction and laparoscopic intrauterine artificial insemination in the Clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa. Zoo Biology 15: 55-69.;2-B

Jhala, Y.V., Qureshi, Q., & Nayak, A.K. (2020). Status of tigers, copredators and prey in India, 2018. National Tiger Conservation Authority, Government of India, New Delhi, and Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

Karstad, L., & Sileo, L. (1971). Cause of death of captive waterfowl in the Kortright Waterfowl Park. 1967-1971. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 7: 236-241.

Leus, K. (2011). Captive breeding and conservation. Zoology in the Middle East, 54: 151-158.

Mukherjee, S., Singh, P., Silva, A.P., Ri, C., Kakati, K., Borah, B., Tapi, T., Kadur, S., Choudhary, C., Srikant, S., Nadig, S., Navya, R., Bjorklund, M., & Ramakrishnan, U. (2019). Activity patterns of the small and medium felid (Mammalia: Carnivora: Felidae) guild in northeastern India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 11: 13432−13447.

National Zoo Policy (1998).

Nowak, R.M. (1999). Walker’s Mammals of the World. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore: 1166-1170.

Nowell, K., & Jackson, P. (1996). Wild Cats. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Pelican, K.M., Wildt, D.E., & Howard, J.G. (2006). The GnRH agonist lurpon leuprolide acetate, prevents ovulation following gonadotropin stimulation in the clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa. Theriogenology 66: 1768-1777.

Recognition of Zoo Rules. (2009).

Shafi, S., Maurya, K.K., & Gupta, M. (2019). Clouded leopard: The sixth felid of Valmiki Tiger Reserve, Bihar, India. Cat News 69.

Srivastav A. & Nigam. P. 2009. National Studbook of Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa). Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun and Central Zoo Authority, New Delhi.

Sunquist, M., & Sunquist, F. (2002). Wild Cats of the World. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London: 278–284.

The Clouded Leopard Project (2009).

Wielebnowski, N. (2002). Adrenal activity in relation to subjective temperament assessment in clouded leopard, Neofelis nebulosa In: Felid Taxonomy Advisory Group Action Plan Ed. By D.E. Wildt, J.D. Mellen and J.L. Brown: 74-75. Disneys Animal Kingdom, Orlando, Florida.

Wildlife Institute of India. (2014). National Studbook of Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun and Central Zoo Authority, New Delhi.

Wildlife Institute of India. (2018). National Studbook of Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) III Edition, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun and Central Zoo Authority, New Delhi.

Wildt, D.E., Howard, J.G., Hall, L.L., & Bush, M. (1986). Reproductive physiology of the Clouded leopard: Electroejaculates contain high proportions of pleiomorphic spermatozoa throughout the year. Biology of reproduction; 34:937-947.

Yamada, J., & Durrant, B. (1989). Reproductive Parameters of Clouded Leopards (Neofelis nebulosa). Zoo Biology. 8: 223-231.




How to Cite

Sethi, N., Chauhan, N. S., & Singh, D. N. . (2022). Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) in captivity: A Scenario in Indian Zoos. Journal of Wildlife and Biodiversity, 7(3), 40–54.

Most read articles by the same author(s)