14 animals declared extinct in the 21st century

In spite of US and international legislation, humans continues to cause extinctions of species worldwide.

4. Formosan Clouded Leopard, Neofelis nebulosa brachyura, 2013

Keith Srakocic/AP/File
A clouded leopard prowls through its new home in the new 'Islands' exhibit at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium June 2015, in Pittsburgh. The animal shown is a different subspecies of the clouded leopard than the extinct Formosan.

Since 2000, scientists have been searching for the Formosan clouded leopard. The giant cats were a subspecies of the clouded leopard, endemic to Taiwan. Their decline was caused by habitat destruction and overhunting for their skins, say IUCN scientists.

Clouded leopards prefer to live in closed, primary evergreen tropical rainforests in Southeast Area, a habitat that is experiencing the world’s fastest deforestation.

Zoologist Chiang Po-jen, a research fellow with the Mammalogical Society of Taiwan, is part of a team that has searched for the Formosan clouded leopards for the last 13 years.

“A forest with clouded leopards and a forest without clouded leopards mean something different. A forest without clouded leopards is ... dead,” Dr. Chiang told the Taipei Times in 2013.

A related subspecies of couded leopards live in the Himalayas, but the IUCN fears they are also vulnerable to extinction.

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