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One of Night Safari's wild cats found herself in a fix recently when she over licked the tip of her tail. Yenbai, the clouded leopard, a medium-sized cat native to Southeast Asia, was exhibiting normal feline behaviour as grooming is comforting for a cat. However, excessive licking can cause inflammation of the skin and cause it to over granulate.

Fortunately, experienced vets at WRS' Wildlife Healthcare and Research Centre (WHRC) came to 13-year-old Yenbai's rescue and treated her tail and the underlying reason why she was over grooming her tail. During the physical examination, they found an ingrown claw which was then clipped when the cat was under sedation.

Yenbai is one of 5 clouded leopards at Night Safari. Its distinctive coat, which usually has a tan or tawny base, is marked with irregularly shaped ellipses that are shaped like clouds. This nimble tree-hunter is one of the best climbers in the cat family, with the ability to hang upside down under branches and running down tree trunks head-first while pursuing its catch. The clouded leopard is mainly found in Southeast Asia, and throughout southern China, western Malaysia, Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Indochina. It has gone extinct in Taiwan.

Fewer than 10,000 specimens exist in the wild due to habitat loss, as well as hunting for medicinal use and their beautiful coats. It is listed as vulnerable by the World Conservation Union and endangered under the United States Endangered Species Act. International trade in clouded leopards is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITIES). Those caught smuggling endangered species in Singapore are liable to be prosecuted in court and fined a maximum of S$50,000 for each animal and/or be imprisoned for up to two years.

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