Little is known about the population status of clouded leopards because actual population estimates are difficult to obtain. The chief threat for clouded leopard populations is habitat loss due to deforestation for agricultural purposes. Humans hunt clouded leopards for their pelts and teeth, as well as for use in traditional medicine and culinary trades. In a survey conducted by the IUCN in 1991 in southeastern China, clouded leopard pelts were common on the black market. The Taiwanese purchase most clouded leopard products and the Taiwanese subspecies of clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa brachyura) is thought to be extinct as a result. Trade of clouded leopard products has been prohibited by CITES since 1975. Laws now protect clouded leopards over the majority of their range. Hunting is strictly prohibited in Bangladesh, Brunei, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam; hunting is regulated in Laos. The IUCN lists clouded leopards as vulnerable, and they are also listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, which prohibits the trade of any part of the animal in the United States. Still, prohibition of hunting of clouded leopards does not necessarily decrease demand and pelts have been reported on sale in urban markets in Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, and Thailand. Clouded leopards face persecution by farmers who feel that their livestock is at risk. Populations have been fragmented by deforestation, increasing the susceptibility of the entire species to infectious disease and natural catastrophic events. Efforts have been made in Nepal, Malaysia, and Indonesia to establish national parks in order to sustain populations of clouded leopards. Unfortunately, due to their elusive nature and dense forest habitats, data on the numbers actually surviving in parks are limited and possibly inaccurate.
US Federal List: endangered
CITES: appendix i
State of Michigan List: no special status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable