Friday Lens Affair 232


Sunda Leopard Cat, Deramakot Forest Reserve, Borneo

Today I’m featuring a superb photograph of a Sunda leopard cat taken in Deramakot Forest Reserve, Borneo by Margarita Steinhardt from The Wildlife Diaries Blog.

Margarita is a travel blogger and freelance travel writer from Australia. She is crazy about wildlife, especially the wild cats.

She is on a quest to see all 40 species of wild cats in their natural habitat. Follow her progress on Facebook and Instagram.

Photo Story: Deramakot Forest Reserve

Most of my travel revolves around looking for wild cats in their natural habitat. And with 40 different species that live in all kinds of different habitats from the Himalayas to the Sahara desert, wild cats are a fascinating family to explore.

Being stealthy and elusive hunters, cats are typically not easy to find, and even when you do spot one, the encounters tend to be sudden and brief.

Especially in the dense jungle habitats, like the Borneo rainforest, where your field of view is limited to the first rows of trees along the road. But sometimes you get lucky.

On my recent trip to Borneo’s Deramakot Forest Reserve, it rained heavily almost every night and most animals stayed sheltered under the cover of the jungle. This is not the lucky part!

Once the rain finished, Sunda leopard cats came out onto the road to dry off and to hunt frogs in the rain puddles on the side of the road.

These little hunters are common in Borneo and they tend to be quite tolerant of human presence.

We watched this particular cat stalking some unseen prey in the grass by the road in a typical cat and mouse fashion.

It stalked, then froze in intense concentration and eventually pounced. After a few unsuccessful attempts, the cat seemed to give up and stormed off into the thick vegetation.

But a few minutes later, it emerged right in front of our car and spent the next ten minutes fastidiously cleaning its fur from the droplets of rain it collected during the hunt.

It is moments like these when I find myself in the company of a wild animal that doesn’t mind my presence that makes my search incredibly rewarding.

Deramakot Forest Reserve is a natural reserve in Sandakan, Borneo, Malaysia. It spans an area of 55,507 hectares and is in its 5th certification period of good forestry practices, awarded by Forest Stewardship Council, thus becoming the longest certified tropical rainforest in the world.

Wildlife found at the reserve includes iconic species such as orangutan, pygmy elephants, Banteng (wild cattle), proboscis monkeys and clouded leopards.

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