WATCH: Tourist Spots Critically Endangered Indochinese Black Leopard

by Chris Haney
(irawansubingarphotography via Getty Images)

Recently, a tourist in Thailand spotted and filmed a rare sight when they came across a critically endangered Indochinese black leopard in the wild.

The tourist captured the black leopard wandering around in Kaen Krachan National Park. The park is the largest national park in Thailand and on the border with the country of Burma. The tourist destination also borders the Tanintharyi Nature Reserve. The popular park is close to the city of Hua Hin, which is a tourist town in Thailand. And one lucky visitor had a chance encounter with an Indochinese black leopard.

In the tourist’s video taken from inside a car, you can see the leopard walking straight toward the camera down a dirt path. The wild animal veers off the road and sniffs around in the grass before continuing its stroll. The big cat seems to notice the tourist filming and keeps an eye on them. However, the leopard continues to walk straight down the path. Eventually, it stops in its tracks, but continues on before rolling around on the ground.

Considering the species is critically endangered, witnessing an Indochinese black leopard in the wild is uncommon indeed. The video gives viewers a rarely-seen look at one of Southeast Asia’s most elusive animals.

More Details On the Endangered Indochinese Black Leopard

The Indochinese black leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) is part of a leopard subspecies that inhabits a specific region in Asia. The animals live among dense tropical rainforests that make up the mainland of the Indochina Peninsula and southern China.

The species is considered extinct in Singapore, Vietnam, and Laos. They’re nearly extinct in Cambodia and South China after inhabiting those areas until recent decades. In fact, the final populations of the leopards are mainly found in Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia. Further, those remaining populations are highly fragmented making it more rare for them to breed and keep their populations up.

According to “The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species“, the Indochinese black leopard is classified as “Endangered.” In fact, experts estimate the species population to be between 973 to 2,503 individuals. They also believe only 409 to 1,051 are considered breeding adult specimens.

There are several factors that have led to the decline of the big cats. Increased poaching for the illegal wildlife trade is a key factor in the species’ decline. In addition, other contributing factors include a decline in prey, habitat destruction, and disease. Further, the deforestation rate in Southeast Asia is the highest out of all tropical regions in the world as the rate still increases.