The Formosan clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa brachyura), a rare species of huge cat native to Taiwan, was believed to be extinct since it had not been spotted since 1983. In addition, Taiwanese and American zoologists surveyed the region between 2001 and 2013, but they were unable to locate a single leopard. So, in 2013, this species was declared extinct.
Multiple witnesses have reported seeing these creatures roaming the woods of Taitung County, Taiwan, alive and well in January 2019, prompting a group of rangers to monitor the area. Rangers have reported two sightings of a group of Formosan clouded leopards hunting goats, as well as one leopard climbing a tree.
Locals are already organizing tribal gatherings to debate the significance of the discovery and how to prevent outsiders from hunting leopards.
Tribal members believe they can prevent others from hunting in the region, while village elders petition Taiwanese authorities to prohibit logging and other activities that threaten the soil.
Professor Liu Chiung-hsien of the Department of Life Sciences at National Taitung University believes that this mammal still exists. Liu stated that the Formosan is famed for its agility and vigilance, evading human attempts to trap or otherwise catch it, thus it is not surprising that it has not been spotted by humans in over two decades.
According to scientists and conservationists, the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals and species going extinct at 1,000 to 10,000 times the natural rate is currently occurring on Earth. The discovery of the Formosan clouded leopard in Taiwan is therefore excellent news for our planet.