Rare leopard species spotted for first time in 20 years

A clouded leopard was caught on camera inside a Thai wildlife sanctuary for the first time in 20 years, and the sighting of the rare and endangered species was a signal that Thai conservation efforts are bearing fruit. At the same time, a 3,000-year-old whale skeleton was discovered in a coastal province near Bangkok.

“The sighting of this cat in the wild is down to the efforts of park rangers to protect the forest and intensify anti-poaching patrols,” said Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn, director of the Conservation Area Administration Office in the region where the big cat was spotted.

He said a camera trap that had been mounted and started surveillance on November 1 caught images of the lone clouded leopard in the Phanom Dong Rak Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is in northeastern Sisaket province in the Phanom Dong Rak mountain range.

Wildlife groups have said there had been occasional sightings of clouded leopards in other Thai sanctuaries in Western, Central and Northeastern Thailand. Still, none had been photographed for more than two decades.

The Kingdom has worked hard to reverse deforestation and increase the number of rangers protecting crucial areas. After many years, efforts appear to be paying off, as there have been more sightings of rare and endangered species in recent years. Thailand has been praised as one of the few countries where the population of wild tigers has been increasing.

Meanwhile, in Samut Sakhon, a province close to Bangkok, a company discovered a perfectly preserved whale skeleton as it was excavating land. A team from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment arrived at the site to examine the remains and expertly recover them. The Ministry said the team has estimated the skeleton is about 3,000 years old.

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