Tabin Day 2 – Clouded Leopard

Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah, 12 May 2019.

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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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Pygmy squirrel.

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Crested serpent eagle.

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

 

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Agamid lizard (draco genus).

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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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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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Drongo.

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Drongo.

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Crested serpent eagle.

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Rhinoceros hornbills.

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Crested serpent eagle.

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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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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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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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Fosa!

(17th to) 18th October 2015. Kirindy, Madagascar.

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The first three images are at nighttime by torchlight.  They should really have been in the previous post for the previous day but I missed them because the time I had set on one of my cameras was out by seven hours.

You can see how this gecko could be fairly well camouflaged in the leaf litter.  It is Mocquard’s Madagascar Ground Gecko or Paroedura bastardi.  Why bastardi I have no idea.

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A large spider on the trunk of a tree, no doubt well camouflaged in many situations.

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Probably a Vanga.

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Back in the morning of the correct day, this is a red-fronted lemur.  This is how you grasp the trunk of a tree with your foot.

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We came to Kirindy, with its very primitive accommodation, for a chance of seeing a Fosa (formerly, fossa).  The fosa is Madagascar’s top carnivore.

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It is about 1.7 metres in length, including the long tail.  It mainly preys on lemurs, which comprise 50% of its diet.

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Originally thought a cat or a civet or a mongoose, DNA has established it has an ancient ancestry with no close relatives.  It has no problem climbing trees.  It is widespread but rare in all locations and is thus vulnerable, especially to habitat destruction.

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Drongo, Fossa, Gecko, Iguana, Kirindy, Landscape, Lemurs, Madagascar, Morondava, Nature, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Travel, Wildlife

We walked around in the forest in the morning, hoping to see one, only to find it visiting the camp when we returned for lunch.  The camp attendants were feeding it.  Ah well, not truly a wild sighting but at least we did see one.

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A bright magenta dragonfly.

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Red-fronted brown lemur.

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Drongo, Fossa, Gecko, Iguana, Kirindy, Landscape, Lemurs, Madagascar, Morondava, Nature, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Travel, Wildlife .

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Drongo, Fossa, Gecko, Iguana, Kirindy, Landscape, Lemurs, Madagascar, Morondava, Nature, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Travel, Wildlife .

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Drongo, Fossa, Gecko, Iguana, Kirindy, Landscape, Lemurs, Madagascar, Morondava, Nature, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Travel, Wildlife .

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Drongo, Fossa, Gecko, Iguana, Kirindy, Landscape, Lemurs, Madagascar, Morondava, Nature, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Travel, Wildlife .

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Drongo, Fossa, Gecko, Iguana, Kirindy, Landscape, Lemurs, Madagascar, Morondava, Nature, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Travel, Wildlife .

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Drongo, Fossa, Gecko, Iguana, Kirindy, Landscape, Lemurs, Madagascar, Morondava, Nature, Photography, Red fronted lemur, Travel, Wildlife

Iguana – Opluris cuvieri.

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