Target: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Director Dan Ashe
Goal: Ban import and export of endangered clouded leopards.
The commercial trade of clouded leopards–for their pelts, teeth, and bones–continues to grow. Pelts are sold in Burma, China, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal and Thailand. Clouded leopard meat is also featured on menus in China and Thailand.
The United States is the most active exporter and second most active importer of clouded leopards. Clouded leopards are not native to the United States; they originate from Southeast Asia and the eastern Himalayas. In captivity, which is mainly how they are kept in the U.S., clouded leopards are particularly susceptible to stress that leads them to chew their tails and pluck their own hair. It can also turn them unnaturally aggressive.
Even with the evidence of how captivity affects the clouded leopards and despite the dangers, many U.S. zoos, fairs, and roadside attractions showcase big cat encounters. Exotic cats are a large money-making industry in the United States and many states have more regulations for dog ownership than owning a big cat. Exact numbers are unknown, but Americans keep between 10,000 and 20,000 big cats as pets.
The demand for clouded leopards has been increasing steadily over the years. One of the reasons for this is that the tiger population is dwindling. Traditional Eastern medicines are replacing tiger bones and organs with those of clouded leopards. Private owners looking for prestige are also illegally purchasing clouded leopards as tigers become more difficult to procure.
Clouded leopard populations are already dwindling due to deforestation and illegal poaching. The exact number of clouded leopards remaining is unknown, but there are estimated to be approximately 10,000 clouded leopards in the wild. Research has shown that many clouded leopards sold as captive-bred are actually illegally wild-caught and there are not good mechanisms in place to monitor the clouded leopard trade.
By signing this petition below, you will urge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to ban the import and export of clouded leopards. The United States should not be the cause of another big cat species extinction.
Dear Director Ashe,
Clouded leopards are an endangered species and the United States should not be the second most active importer and the most active exporter of this beautiful animal. Most of those imported are destined for fur farms, captive breeding operations, and big cat encounters with the public.
Clouded leopards in the wild spend most of their time in the trees. In captivity, they experience stress which causes them to become aggressive, chew their own tails, and pull out their hair. Those exported will probably end up as clothing accessories, Eastern medicine ingredients, or meat for wealthy Asians.
As tiger populations worldwide begin to dwindle, there is an increased demand for clouded leopards. These beautiful and majestic creatures are already endangered and should not suffer the same fate as tigers due to our greed and selfishness.
The United States should ban all trade in clouded leopards. It is cruel and inhumane to keep them in captivity or to sell them off for parts. Please help the clouded leopards and protect them from becoming extinct.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Nazzu