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Rare Bornean clouded leopards caught on camera in Malaysian reserve

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Updated: 08:41 GMT, Nov 11, 2017 | Published: 07:38 GMT, Nov 11, 2017 |
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A Bornean clouded leopard and her two cubs were captured on camera strolling through a Malaysian forest reserve last week, a rare daytime sighting of the elusive animals in the wild.

Found only on the Southeast Asian islands of Borneo and Sumatra, the big cat species is known to zoologists as Neofelis diardi, with just 700 estimated to live in a habitat shrunk by poaching and deforestation.

The footage filmed by photographer Michael Gordon showed a female leopard and two young cubs crossing a road and walking into the bush in the Deramakot Forest Reserve in Malaysia’s Sabah state, where the elusive cat was first sighted at night on camera traps in 2010.

The animal’s habitat has shrunk by a tenth each year over the last two decades, the World Wildlife Fund said, hit by poaching and deforestation for commercial purposes. It feeds on monkeys, small deer, birds and lizards, and is the main predator on Borneo, an island shared by Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

In 2007, genetic studies showed the species to be distinct from its nearest relative, the clouded leopard, or Neofelis nebulosa, the WWF says. The range of the clouded leopard extends from Nepal on the Indian subcontinent to southern China and throughout South-East Asia. The island’s clouded leopard has small cloud markings, a double stripe down its back and its greyer fur is darker than the mainland species, the WWF says.

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