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Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Friday, 24 July 2009 13:13 UK

Bangladesh rare leopard cub freed

By Alastair Lawson
BBC News

Clouded leopard
The cat was thought to be extinct in Bangladesh

A clouded leopard, previously thought to be extinct in Bangladesh, has been released after being caught by tribes people in a remote area of the country.

Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh (WTB) Chief Executive Mohammed Anwarul Islam said that that the leopard cub is now in the jungle on the border with Burma.

It had been caught by tribespeople after being separated from its mother.

Professor Islam said that the cub was released only after villagers were satisfied it could survive on its own.

"They made sure that the cub was eating meat before releasing it. The locals feel that it is now able to find food and survive in the forest," he told the BBC.

Professor Islam said that the cub was found by indigenous villagers near the town of Rangamati in the south-eastern Chittagong Hill Tracts in June.

Map

"The villagers were understandably concerned that if they released it too soon, it would die in the jungle without its mother."

Professor Islam said that the last time a clouded leopard had been spotted in Bangladesh was in 1992.

He said that the cat was considered extinct in the country because of habitat loss.

Local people reportedly saw the cub's mother and one of its siblings as they were feeding on a monkey.

They chased the leopard family away, but captured one of the cubs.

Clouded leopards used to live in forests around Mymensingh, Sylhet, and the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

They are solitary, nocturnal and arboreal cats. They are also one of the least studied leopards, principally because of their secretive and timid nature.

The species is considered to be vulnerable across Asia and is included in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.



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