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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflections on 2008


While many of you have no doubt already rung in the new year, we are still about six hours away from 2009 here in the Pacific Northwest. My big party plan for this year is staying up until 10pm instead of my usual 9:30! (In my defense, I do get up very early for work...those cloudies get don't like to sleep in.)

It's also the traditional time for looking back on the passing year, so here are a few thoughts on clouded leopards in 2008.

Highlights
  • The Clouded Leopard Project receives its federal non-profit status and establishes itself as a non-profit corporation. The CLP's following continues to grow with record donations, merchandise sales, and visits to the website.

  • CLP grants provide funding for five projects studying and protecting clouded leopards in Thailand, Malaysia, and Nepal.

  • The Clouded Leopard Project spearheads the organization of the first-ever Clouded Leopard and Small Felid Summit meeting that will take place in January '09 in Bankok. Sponsors have rallied great support for the meeting, allowing us to bring field researchers and conservationists from all over the world to assist in the conservation planning process.

  • Andy Hearn and Jo Ross working in the Danum Valley capture and radio collar a Borneo clouded leopard for the first time ever. Unfortunately, they lose her signal when she travels to a more distant location. They will be trying to capture additional animals for their study in early 2009 so we wish them great success.

  • The Great Cat and Rare Canids Act passes in the House of Representatives and awaits a Senate hearing. If passed, this Act will provide critical funding for clouded leopard conservation efforts.

  • The clouded leopard breeding project at Khao Kheow Open Zoo finished the year with a grand total of 39 cubs born since 2002!

Lowlights

  • Clouded leopards and other rare felids of Southeast Asia continue to be victims of the escalating illegal wildlife trade as well as the destruction and fragmentation of habitat through logging and conversion of habitat to palm oil production and other agriculture.

  • Our attempted artificial insemination breeding of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium's clouded leopard Josie fails after it initially appears she is pregnant. We'll try again in '09!

Wow, that's all the bad things I can think of...not a bad result to show for a whole year. Of course, the threats facing clouded leopards can definitely eclipse all the positive things we experience in our efforts, but we remain optimistic that with your support we can achieve great conservation success in 2009.

Happy New Year!

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