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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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.

 

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

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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Tabin Day 1

Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah, 11 May 2019.

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Orangutan mother and baby.

On this day we travelled to Tabin Wildlife Reserve.  On the way we stopped at the Caves of Goomontong, at a huge cave populated with bats and swiftlets.  Lighting was fiendishly difficult there and I have no images to show you but on the walk back from the cave we encountered a wild orangutan mother and baby.  It looks as though they might be in a zoo but they’re just sitting on the steps of an abandoned building.

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Millipede.

Now we are in Tabin in the later morning and I think this millipede was on a rail outside our room.  The difference between centipedes and millipedes is not the number of legs, it’s that centipedes have one pair of legs per segment whereas millipedes have two.

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Pig-tailed macaques.

It is now the late afternoon.  We might have been sitting around to escape the midday heat or it might have been raining.  I can’t remember which. You expect to encounter rain each afternoon and perhaps in the evening in Sabah but we were lucky in this trip and that only happened in Tabin.

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Pig-tailed Macaque.

We were photographing these images from the back of a small open truck.

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Monitor lizard and with something, maybe an insect, in his mouth.

Tabin Wildlife Reserve is a large island in a sea of palm oil plantations.  There is a lot of wildlife though most is secondary forest and it shows how much though not all of the wildlife will survive the largest trees being taken out, though the replacement of the forest for uses such as palm oil plantations is another matter.  There is also a much smaller island of primary forest, but that is not open to humans.

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Crested serpent eagle.

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White-crowned hornbill.

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Buffy fish owl.

We are now on a nighttime walk.

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Stick insect (probably Haaniella echinate), endemic to Borneo.

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Unidentified moth.

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Kinabatangan River Day 1 – Pig Tailed Macaques

Kinabatangan River, Sabah, 9 May 2019.

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Asian Palm Civet, Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Kingfisher, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Slow Loris, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Collared kingfisher.

These daylight images – this one and the next nine, were all taken from a boat on the Kinabatangan River, all with a very long telephoto lens (420mm).

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Asian Palm Civet, Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Kingfisher, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Slow Loris, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Long tailed Macaque.

Macaques are amongst the most widespread of monkeys and are endemic to Asia. North Africa and Gibraltar.  Long tailed Macaques are endemic to South East Asia.  They live in a variety of environments and can be closely associated with human settlements.  They can be an invasive species in some places, including Hong Kong and West Papua.  They are onmivores and considered of least concern for their conservation status.

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Asian Palm Civet, Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Kingfisher, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Slow Loris, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Long tailed Macaque.

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Asian Palm Civet, Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Kingfisher, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Slow Loris, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Southern Pig-tailed Macaques.

Southern Pig-tailed Macaques are endemic to Borneo, Sumatra and mainland Malaysia.  They live in rainforest and are also omniverous.  They are classified as vulnerable.

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Asian Palm Civet, Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Kingfisher, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Slow Loris, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Pig-tailed Macaques.

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Asian Palm Civet, Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Kingfisher, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Slow Loris, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Pig-tailed Macaques.

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Asian Palm Civet, Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Kingfisher, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Slow Loris, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Male Proboscis Monkey.

Proboscis monkeys are large monkeys endemic to Borneo.  The large nose of the males may assist in giving them a more resonant call.  They are aboreal (tree-dwelling), live close to water and are good swimmers.  They mostly eat fruit and leaves and will jump from tree to tree.  They are classified as endangered, due to habitat loss.

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Asian Palm Civet, Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Kingfisher, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Slow Loris, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Macaque.

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A Proboscis Monkey family tree.

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Female Proboscis monkey.

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Monitor lizard sleeping on the branch of a tree.

After dinner we went for a walk and I took some more images by torchlight.

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Asian Palm Civet, Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Kingfisher, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Slow Loris, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Slow Loris.

This is one was actually moving around quite quickly, despite the name.  It was a challenging photographic situation, dimly lit by torchlight.  requiring an exposure of 25,600 ISO and still three stops under.

This is a Phillipine Slow Loris, one of four species of what was previously the Borneo Slow Loris.  Ironically. it is endemic to Northern Borneo and not the Phillipines.  It is nocturnal and sparsely populated.  It is thought to be more nocturnal than other slow loris sub-species but little is known about it.  Not something you are guaranteed to see in a Borneo rainforest at all.

Unique for primates, slow lorises have a poisonous bite.  They have a poisonous gland near their armpits which they lick and the secretion becomes mixed with saliva.  They are more closely related to lemurs than monkeys.  They are classified as vulnerable or endangered and some subspecies have yet to be classified.  As well as habitat loss, they are threatened by a pet trade.  They look very cute with their large nocturnal eyes but the trade is very cruel.  They usually have their teeth cut or pulled due to the poisonous bit and often die from that.  Then they are nocturnal and have a specialised diet so do not do well in captivity.

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Asian Palm Civet, Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Kingfisher, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Slow Loris, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Stick insect.

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Asian Palm Civet, Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Kingfisher, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Slow Loris, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Asian Palm Civet.

Civets are part of the feliformia suborder of carnivora that includes cats, hyenas, mongooses and civets.  Civets are found in South East Asia, India and China.  Asian Palm Civets are nocturnal omnivores, mainly eating berries and fruit and leading solitary lifestyles.  There is a strange demand for coffee made from beans that have been eaten and digested by civets.  Traditionally, this was from harvesting the faeces of wild civets but it has led to captive civets in battery cages being fed coffee beans to produce the coffee.  There is also an unfortunately large (and illegal) usage of civets in Indonesia as pets.

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Asian Palm Civet, Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Kingfisher, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Slow Loris, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Katydid.

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Unidentified butterfly.

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Asian Palm Civet, Birds, Butterfly, Insects, Kingfisher, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Slow Loris, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Lantern bug (Pyrops whiteheadi).

They are called lantern bugs because it was believed erroneously in the eighteenth century that their extended hollow “snout” glowed in the dark.

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