Super-Elusive Leopard Filmed for the First Time Ever

Photo: YouTube

Just a few weeks back, researchers working in Indonesia identified a remarkable new species of cat -- the stunning Sundaland clouded leopard. But now, for the first time ever, the elusive animal has been caught on film -- a rare peek at one of the most beautiful and ghostlike creatures on the planet.As Treehugger Brian reported in January, the leopards, which are native to the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, were once thought to be the same species as their mainland counterparts, but genetic testing confirmed that they are in fact a different one entirely. Still, clouded leopards in general are considered one of the most camera-shy animals around -- and this new species is no exception.

At the time, Brian noted "Perhaps he'll be more willing to hang out now that he's received his due recognition from the scientific community." My colleague's prediction was actually spot on.

While we'd love to see a longer clip of this magnificently patterned cat, capturing a video as brief as this was no easy task considering just how elusive clouded leopards are. Conservationists from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) had to set up motion-sensing camera traps on the island of Sumatra to film the cat -- and sure enough, they returned the very first moving images of one of the world's rarest sights.

Sarah Christie, from the ZSL, hopes that now the rare leopard has been caught on film, they'll be a greater sense of urgency to protect its dwindling habitat:

This footage is further evidence of the rich wildlife found in Berbak National Park, and is yet another reason why it [is] essential that a conservation plan is put in place for the long-term protection of these forests.

It may have taken a while for the world to catch a glimpse of the Sundaland clouded leopard, but it sure was worth the wait to see such a beautiful animal.

Via The National Geographic
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Tags: Animals | Indonesia