Sumatran Sundaland clouded leopard filmed for the first time
Monday 14 February 2011
The Sumatran Sundaland clouded leopard has been captured on film for the first time by ZSL conservationists.
Recently identified as a distinct subspecies from the Borneo Sundaland clouded leopard, this reclusive and rarely seen cat was filmed using a camera trap stationed in Berbak National Park, on the east coast of Sumatra.
This new footage captures the animal up-close, showing off its long tail which it uses to balance on branches in the forest canopy.
The estimated total number of clouded leopards in Sumatra range from 3,000 to 7,000 individuals. A larger population is found on the Island of Borneo. In Borneo clouded leopards are the largest predator, unlike in Sumatra where they have to compete with the critically endangered Sumatran Tiger.
Little is known about the behaviour of this elusive cat, but scientists believe that clouded leopards behave more like panthers, resting in trees and hunting both on the ground and in the canopy of the forest. They have long nails and highly flexible ankles, allowing them to climb upside down underneath tree branches, hang from branches with their hind feet and walk down a trunk of a tree like a squirrel.
ZSL has been working with a number of collaborators in Berbak National Park since 2007, carrying out tiger and mammal surveys and developing a REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, plus biodiversity) project.
Berbak National Park is made up of peat swamp forests. The REDD+ project aims to set-up a carbon credit system whereby businesses can buy credits to protect the forest from deforestation and preserve the rich biodiversity of the Park.
Sarah Christie, East and Southeast Conservation Programme Manager at ZSL, says “This footage is further evidence of the rich wildlife found in Berbak National Park and is yet another reason why it essential that an conservation plan is put in place for the long-term protection of these forests.”