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Clouded Leopard Conservation Summit Convenes to Save Southeast Asia’s Rare Wild Cats

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P.O. Box 2311
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
www.cloudedleopard.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 19, 2009

Contact: Karen Povey, 253-853-3783 or karen@cloudedleopard.org

GIG HARBOR, WA –– A group of the world’s leading wild cat conservationists meets next week to develop a strategy to protect some of Southeast Asia’s most threatened species. The Clouded Leopard and Small Felid Conservation Summit, hosted by Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand January 28-30, is the first-ever gathering to focus attention on some of the region’s least studied but most charismatic creatures including the clouded leopard, marbled cat, flat-headed cat, fishing cat, and bay cat.

“This is a landmark conservation event to promote the long-term survival of some of the world’s most amazing animals, most of which are poorly understood by both scientists and the general public,” says Karen Povey, President of the Clouded Leopard Project, the non-profit organization that conceived the meeting and serves as one of its primary organizers and funders.

During the Summit, over fifty experts in field research, wildlife trade, and community education will assess the current status of these species and gauge the severity of the threats the cats face, using this information to create a regional conservation action plan. Key to the meeting’s success is the inclusion of scientists from the countries where these cats range. Sponsorship and grant funding is providing travel support for many of these participants who otherwise would not have been able to attend.

Time is quickly running out for clouded leopards and many of Asia’s small wild cats. They face significant threats from loss of habitat through logging and the conversion of forest to palm oil plantations as well as direct killing by poachers. Summit organizers hope to save these species be finding creative solutions that account for the needs of both people and wildlife. “I’m optimistic that there is a solution to the crisis facing the wild cats of Southeast Asia, but we need to act now. Let’s not lose these animals just as we are beginning to understand them,” says Povey.

Other organizational and funding support for the Summit has been provided by Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Aspinall Foundation, Thailand Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, The Zoological Park Organization, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, and Nashville Zoo.

The Clouded Leopard Project is Gig Harbor-based non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of clouded leopards and the habitat upon which they depend by supporting field research, implementing education initiatives in range countries, and bringing global awareness to clouded leopard conservation issues.

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