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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Clouded Leopard Feeding Video from the Danum Valley
Wow, what a lucky sighting for some herpetologists studying at the Danum Valley Field Center in Sabah, Borneo. They observed AND filmed a clouded leopard eating a mouse deer. Here's the report in the words of Jennifer, from her blog:
They got video too, so be sure to check out her post!

"About an hour into the survey, James called over to me “Jen, do you want to see a clouded leopard?” I thought for SURE he was kidding, but I went over to see what he was looking at anyways, trying not to get too excited. When he pointed to where he was looking, I was trying to get my eyes to see a speck of something far away, maybe a pinprick of eyeshine, or a glimpse of a cat, but instead, about 25 feet in front of me I saw an enormous grey cat with dark markings chowing down on a mouse deer (a tiny deer about the size of a medium-sized dog). I literally had to put my hand over my mouth to keep from making too much noise. I was stunned, and couldn’t believe that I was seeing this gorgeous cat at such close range. And to make it even more interesting, there was a second clouded leopard a few feet away from the first, feasting on its own mouse deer!"

"I can’t express enough how rare it is to see this—nearly nothing is known of clouded leopard behavior or ecology, and here were four herpetologists seeing TWO cats together. As near as we can tell, it was likely a mother and nearly full grown cub. We continued watching them for almost an hour, and they were perfectly happy to just eat their meal, keeping their eyes on us the whole time (see the short video above by Rachel). They switched places once or twice, and after they seemed to have finished, they walked around a bit and then lay down—with one of them momentarily rolling onto its back and batting at an overhanging vine! It was absolutely surreal to witness, and amazing to think that moments before we saw it, this huge predator had been hunting not more than 50 meters from where we were. After we returned to our survey, I was literally saying “could this night possibly get any better?!” when overhead we saw huge flying foxes silhouetted against the nearly full moon! Unbelievable. It truly was one of the greatest days of my life, and makes me think that Danum is one of the best wildlife spots left on the planet."

I second that! - Karen


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