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On a recent patrol near the Lembu River, something caught the eye of one of our Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team members. After investigating further, our team was shocked to find a young clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) all alone, frightened, and hiding in a hole.

The clouded leopard is the largest wild cat found on the island of Borneo. It has a stocky body, weighs between 12-25 kg and can be around 90 cm long when full grown. Its elongated canines, measuring up to 5 cm in length, are the longest canines relative to body size of all the surviving cat species in the world.

Clouded leopard colours vary from a pale, sandy shade of brown to dark brown, with a spotty cloud-like pattern along the sides of its body.

Clouded Leopard by Rustam

Clouded Leopard by Rustam

Clouded Leopard by Rustam

Clouded Leopard by Rustam

This arboreal cat is essentially nocturnal but is also known to be active during the day. Its diet includes wild boars, deer, monkeys, and smaller mammals. It is found in lowland primary and secondary forests, and, to a lesser extent, mangrove forests.

Our team took extra precautions after discovering the clouded leopard during a patrol. While it was exciting to see such a magnificent creature in the flesh, it was also a tense moment, knowing there could still be an anxious mother lurking nearby. Luckily, our team didn’t meet the mother clouded leopard – they could only find food scraps in the area that were likely left by monkeys.

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