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Cartoonist brings Taiwan's extinct Formosan clouded leopard to life

Comic book tells story of Taiwan's endemic clouded leopard, hopes to raise awareness of biodiversity

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Taiwanese cartoonist Hambuck (NTM photo)

Taiwanese cartoonist Hambuck (NTM photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An award-winning Taiwanese cartoonist has paid tribute to the extinct Formosan clouded leopard with a comic book created in collaboration with the National Taiwan Museum (NTM).

First described in 1862, the Formosan clouded leopard was distinguished by its cloud-like markings and its short tail. Endemic to Taiwan, the species was declared extinct in 2013 following over a decade of research by Taiwanese and American scientists.

To raise public awareness on the importance of biodiversity, the NTM teamed up with Taipei-based cartoonist Hambuck (漢寶包) for the book. It took a year for him to conceive the storyline and illustrations by studying the seven specimens of the animal at various stages of life that are part of the museum's collection.

The book revolves around the adventure of a personified clouded leopard that has become a guardian of the museum. The story sheds light on the existential threat to the forest-dwelling cat that led to its demise as well as the human-nature relationship, according to the museum.

“The Beast of the Clouds: A Guardian from Ancient Times” (雲之獸:來自遠古的守護者) is available at the NTM and bookstores starting Tuesday (Nov. 17). Part of the original 200-page manuscript is now on display at the museum's multi-media exhibition featuring the leopards until Dec. 6.

Cartoonist brings Taiwan's extinct Formosan clouded leopard to life
Interactive exhibition about Formosan clouded leopard at NTM (CNA photo)

Cartoonist brings Taiwan's extinct Formosan clouded leopard to life
Cartoonist Hambuck talks about new work. (NTM photo)

Cartoonist brings Taiwan's extinct Formosan clouded leopard to life
Formosan clouded leopard specimens kept at NTM (Wikimedia, SSR2000 photo)

Cartoonist brings Taiwan's extinct Formosan clouded leopard to life
Comic manuscript by Hambuck (Facebook, Hambuck photo)