Tabin Day 2 – Clouded Leopard

Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah, 12 May 2019.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Gibbon.

We were up very early in the morning and were able to observe a troupe of gibbons making their way past us, high in the trees, from tree to tree.  These are Müeller’s gibbons, or North Borneo gibbons.  Gibbons diverged from great apes around 17 million years ago and they live exclusively on fruit so do not need to descend from trees.  They move by brachiation, swinging from branch to branch, for distances of up to 15 meters per swing, and can move at remarkable speeds, up to 55 km/hr.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Pygmy squirrel.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Crested serpent eagle.

After breakfast we went for a ride in a truck and then a walk in the rainforest.

 

Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Agamid lizard (draco genus).

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Draco Cornutis (green flying lizard).

It is not apparent here, but this fellow has flaps under its body that allows it to glide from tree to tree.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Monitor lizard.

In the late afternoon we went for another ride in the truck, photographing with a long lens from the open tray.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Drongo.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Drongo.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Crested serpent eagle.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Rhinoceros hornbills.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Crested serpent eagle.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

It was after dark when we came upon another group who had seen a clouded leopard.  It had caught a civet and had settled down up a tree, behind the foliage. It wasn’t visible but we knew it was there so we waited. After about half an hour we caught a glimpse of a tail, which you may be able to see in the image above.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

After nearly an hour, the clouded leopard moved and we were able to see it through the foliage.

This is the Borneo subspecies of the Sunda clouded leopard.  The Sunda clouded leopard is endemic to Sumatra and Borneo, and separated from the mainland clouded leopard about three million years ago.  Note also that the clouded leopard is not a subspecies of leopard.  They are the sole members of the subfamily neofelis, whereas the subfamily panthera includes leopard, tiger, snow leopard, lion and jaguar. The Sunda clouded leopard is medium-sized, weighing 12 to 26kg.  Its flexible ankle joints allow it to climb down trees head first and it has the longest tooth size to head size of any cat, perhaps to help it hold on to prey in trees.  It is classified as vulnerable due to habitat loss as it is dependent on living in rainforest.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

I didn’t see the clouded leopard’s head but Damien Esquerré did and has kindly allowed me to show you this photograph.

Our guides said it was the first one they had seen for five years.

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2 comments on “Tabin Day 2 – Clouded Leopard

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