WATCH: Rare sighting of mother Sunda clouded leopard and cubs caught on film

first_imgAnimals, Big Cats, Biodiversity, Cats, Conservation, Deforestation, Ecotourism, Environment, Habitat Degradation, Habitat Destruction, Logging, Mammals, Poaching, Rainforest Animals, Roads, Tropical Deforestation, Video, Videos, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife Trade, Wildlife Trafficking On the afternoon of November 6, while traveling through Deramakot Forest Reserve in the Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo, photographer Michael Gordon came across a sight he was not expecting: a Sunda clouded leopard mother with her cubs.“When I first saw the clouded leopards from a distance I thought it was just some macaques on the road,” he told Mongabay. “Once I realized that it was actually three clouded leopards I stopped the car right away. I had my camera close by, but with only a 15mm macro lens attached. I wasn’t sure whether to just enjoy the moment or go into the boot of the car and change lenses. I figured I would regret it badly if I didn’t record it.”The Sunda clouded leopard, found only on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, is such a rare and elusive big cat that it’s traditionally been rather difficult to study, never mind casually sight while driving through the forest. On the afternoon of November 6, while traveling through Deramakot Forest Reserve in the Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo, photographer Michael Gordon came across a sight he was not expecting: a Sunda clouded leopard mother with her cubs.Clouded leopards are known to use logging roads to travel, as the roads are easier to traverse than dense tropical forest underbrush. Still, the sighting was so unexpected that Gordon wasn’t at first sure what he was seeing.“When I first saw the clouded leopards from a distance I thought it was just some macaques on the road,” he told Mongabay. “Once I realized that it was actually three clouded leopards I stopped the car right away. I had my camera close by, but with only a 15mm macro lens attached. I wasn’t sure whether to just enjoy the moment or go into the boot of the car and change lenses. I figured I would regret it badly if I didn’t record it.”Once he’d changed the lens, Gordon set the camera down on the front of his car and placed the lens between his feet to try and give the camera some stability. “The mother looked straight at me for a while, and once she must have deemed me safe, the cubs followed her across the road,” he said.You can watch the resulting footage here:The Sunda clouded leopard, found only on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra, is such a rare and elusive big cat that it’s traditionally been rather difficult to study, never mind casually sight while driving through the forest.It was only in 2006 that DNA analysis was at last able to establish the Sunda clouded leopard as its own species, Neofelis diardi, distinct from its mainland cousin, Neofelis nebulosa. (Though the two species look and behave remarkably similar, they actually diverged from their common ancestor over a million years ago and are not any more genetically similar to each other than they are to any of the other big cat species.)The advent of modern conservation technologies like camera traps have helped scientists to gain a better understanding of Sunda clouded leopard populations and behaviors, but even still, some researchers who focus on the species have never seen one of the cats in the wild, or only rarely encountered them.Which makes it all the more remarkable that Gordon was able to capture the footage of a mother clouded leopard with her cubs. “I have never seen a mother with cubs before and only once had a glimpse of a clouded leopard in the daylight,” Gordon told Mongabay. “This was definitely a rare sighting.”The Sunda clouded leopard is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species based on a 2015 assessment that found that ongoing threats such as forest loss, habitat degradation, and poaching have likely led to a population decline of 30 percent or more over the past two decades. It is believed that the total Sunda clouded leopard population is currently less than 10,000 individuals.While scientists have determined that the species exists at relatively low population densities in the forests of Borneo and Sumatra, the Sunda clouded leopard is a fairly adaptable creature, “found in a range of forest types, elevations and levels of disturbance,” the IUCN reports. However, despite its ability to adjust to different habitats, the Sunda clouded leopard is dependent on forests, and does not seem capable of thriving on oil palm plantations. That presents quite a threat to the species’ survival — it’s been estimated that there are only about 700 Sunda clouded leopards left in the wild in Sabah, for instance, mostly due to the conversion of their habitat to oil palm monocultures.“The forests of Borneo and Sumatra are undergoing some of the world’s highest deforestation rates, largely as the result of the expansion of oil palm plantations, and thus such development and consequent loss of habitat, coupled with the species’ apparent low population size, probably constitute the greatest threat to this species,” according to the IUCN’s assessment.In addition to habitat destruction, hunting is a serious threat to the big cats. Surveys released by WWF and TRAFFIC earlier this month found that clouded leopards are among the top 10 species targeted for the illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia’s Golden Triangle region.But a sighting of clouded leopards in a selectively logged forest like Deramakot may not be as unusual as it would seem. Recent research found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, mammal populations in Malaysian Borneo’s logged tropical forests are actually higher than in old-growth forests where hunting is a concern. “What was more surprising was that this pattern was so widespread across the mammal species we looked at, including some of those that partly make their living in the treetops, like orangutans and clouded leopards,” Oliver Wearn of the Zoological Society of London, who led the research, told Mongabay in August.Michael Gordon has lived in Sabah for five years now, and has been working to promote ecotourism in the Dermakot Forest Reserve, an FSC-certified forest landscape. “In a sustainably logged forest like Deramakot there does seem to be higher mammal density than primary forests, and, from a tourism perspective, with the well-maintained roads, it’s actually easier to go out and find them,” he said. “With the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak both pledging to make all logging FSC certified and sustainable, it should ensure some of Borneo’s iconic species do have a future without just being confined to national parks.”Of course, not everyone is as thrilled by a clouded leopard sighting as Gordon was. Take, for instance, the gibbons and monkeys who were caught on camera earlier this year teaming up to “predator mob” a Sunda clouded leopard they discovered in their midst.A mother Sunda clouded leopard and one of her cubs can be seen in this still from footage shot by Michael Gordon.CITATION: Wearn, O. R., Rowcliffe, J. M., Carbone, C., Pfeifer, M., Bernard, H., & Ewers, R. M. (2017). Mammalian species abundance across a gradient of tropical land-use intensity: A hierarchical multi-species modelling approach. Biological Conservation, 212, 162-171. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Article published by Mike Gaworeckilast_img

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