By Chou Yen-yu and Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporters
An 18-year-old Southeast Asian clouded leopard living at Taipei Zoo has died of multiple organ failure, the zoo said yesterday.
The female clouded leopard, named Yunhsin （雲新）, was brought to Taiwan by wildlife smugglers and seized by customs officials in 2001 before the zoo took it into its care, the zoo said yesterday.
It initially kept its distance from humans, but gradually developed a rapport with zookeepers and started responding to visitors’ calls by moving toward them, the zoo said, adding that its gentle look impressed many visitors.
Over the past few years, the animal grew senile, its mobility declined and its eyesight deteriorated to the point that it could barely respond to people calling to it, the zoo said.
To alleviate its discomfort, the zookeepers had adjusted the height of its food tray and closely monitored the animal on cold days, but it eventually succumbed to organ failure, it said.
The zoo urged people not to purchase animal or plant products with unidentified origins, as this would stop smugglers from making a profit and prevent the spread of animal diseases.
In related news, the Council of Agriculture’s Forestry Bureau yesterday unveiled an animal-themed calendar for next year to raise awareness about animal conservation.
The calendar is to be available at the bureau’s store in Taipei’s Huashan 1914 Creative Park from Saturday, it said.
The store, which opened this month, promotes Aboriginal cultural and agricultural products, as well as the bureau’s publications.
Last year’s forest-themed digital calendar, featuring botanical images and poetic descriptions, went viral online, but some people were disappointed that it was not physically available and could only be downloaded for a limited time.
The new calendar features images of animals that live in low-altitudes and near humans, the bureau said.
The calendar costs NT$250, but it would be on sale at 21 percent off on the first day, it said.
A Southeast Asian clouded leopard named Yunhsin, who has died aged 18 of multiple organ failure, is seen in an undated photograph. Photo courtesy of Taipei Zoo