Monday, December 10, 2012

Rare cat filmed up close in Borneo

One of the world's most rare and elusive cats, the Sunda clouded leopard of Malaysia, has been filmed up close.

A biologist holidaying in Malaysia has captured unique footage of a young female leopard resting in the forest.

Previously, this top predator has only been filmed fleetingly and at a distance, with the first wild footage to be made public captured in 2010.

The Sunda clouded leopard was only discovered to be a distinct species in 2007.

Experts say the footage is extraordinary, believing it to be the only close-up film of the cat in the wild.

Clouded leopards are the smallest of the so-called big cats, living in southeast Asia.

They are not true leopards, being more distantly related to leopards, snow leopards, lions and tigers than those big cats are to each other.

For many years, experts thought there was a single species of clouded leopard.

Then in 2007, Mr Andreas Wilting of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, Germany and colleagues discovered there are actually two distinct species.

The clouded leopard of mainland Asia and Taiwan kept the traditional species name Neofelis nebulosa, and the Sunda clouded leopard living on Borneo and Sumatra, was named Neofelis diardi.

Both species are elusive, but the Sunda clouded leopard is rarely sighted or photographed.

In 2010, Mr Wilting and colleagues captured the first wild footage of the cat to be made public, when during a night survey, they encountered a Sunda clouded leopard walking along a road.

Now Dr Jyrki Hokkanen, a keen wildlife videographer, has obtained much more detailed film of the cat.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Rare cat filmed up close in Borneo