Deep in the wilds of Borneo, scientists have been capturing pictures of what they call “the world’s least known cat”, one that has only recently become known to science. The animal is called the Bay Cat (Pardofelis badia) and has just been photographed in a newly surveyed part of the Borneo jungle – unfortunately amidst a logging operation. This is their photo:
Here’s another closer shot of the animal:
Scientists have also shared that they have found evidence of four other relatively new and rare species of big cats in the same areas of Borneo where the Bay Cat lives. They are the Marbled cat (Pardofelis mamorata), the Flat-headed Cat (Prionailurus planiceps), the Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), and the Sunda Clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi). Here are some photos of them.
The Flat-Headed Cat:
The Leopard Cat:
And the Sunda Clouded Leopard:
Camera Traps Change Everything
According to the scientists, camera traps have completely changed and enhanced the way information is collected about animals, especially the more elusive ones. Most animals are very good at spotting humans in the woods and jungles where they live, so they avoid noisy scientists fairly easily. But the stationary and silent cameras sit still for months at a time, becoming part of the landscape thereby allowing more access to the creatures that really frequent those areas.
Oliver Wearn, PhD from the ZSL and Imperial College London said, “The cameras record multiple sightings, sometimes of species which we might be very lucky to see even after spending years in an area. For example, I’ve seen the clouded leopard just twice in three years of fieldwork, whilst my cameras recorded 14 video sequences of this enigmatic cat in just eight months.”
Fate of the Fab Five
All five of these animals are already listed with the IUCN Red List of highly threatened animals in their native habitats. The interesting thing to me is that this recent study done by Dr. Wearn, et al, seems to indicate that these cats are nonetheless surviving in the heavily logged regions of their jungles.
Another scientist, Dr. Robert Ewers (Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London) said, “We were completely surprised to see so many bay cats at these sites in Borneo where natural forests have been so heavily logged for the timber trade. Conservationists used to assume that very few wild animals can live in logged forest[s], but we now know this land can be home for many endangered species.”
At least that’s some good news!
Are you wondering the same thing that I am? Why the heck can’t we get a good, definitive shot of Bigfoot on one of these cameras?
Dr. Wearn alluded to that in a comment about hunting for tigers and other big cats. He shared a story from his college days where they were learning how to place camera traps. Long story short, it seems that if you “pick” a place because it looks “good” or “most likely”, you’ll probably miss getting your animal. Rather, they randomly pick spots in the forests and jungles to place their cameras and find they have a much greater success rate.
I wonder if that’s what the Bigfoot hunters need to do. If it works for other animals, why wouldn’t it work for a Bigfoot?
I’m delighted science has found these other beautiful big cats – what a treasure they are to our planet. I will, as always, remain hopeful that someone, somewhere, FINALLY brings home the photographic evidence that Bigfoots are real.
Til the next time!