Wednesday, 29 April 2015


The name given to the Sunda clouded leopardess in Lok Kawi Wildlife Park is Ruby. I learn from Quentin that some eight years ago she was confiscated as a large cub from a hunter in Ranau near Kinabalu. For a while she was cared for by Quentin's niece and, being extremely tame (the leopardess, not the niece), she would roll on her back to have her tummy tickled.

A tummy I should love to tickle

Lok Kawi also has, Quentin tells me, a male leopard with three legs who is not on public display. It is hoped that the two may be introduced to one another and that they may breed. However, male clouded leopards in captivity have a history of killing females so the zoo is wary of putting them together without thought. Given the male's disability and the species' strong sexual dimorphism in size (males weigh around 25 kg and females 15 kg) it is possible that a very large enclosure with trees and climbing frames would allow Ruby to escape from the male should he prove aggressive.

There are thought to be some individuals of the Sunda clouded leopard in private hands in Kalimantan; plus some of the Sumatran subspecies in private collections on that island. However, Ruby and the three-legged male are the only Bornean animals known to be held legally in captivity. Let us hope, for the good of the species and our understanding of it, that unclouded love is their destiny and that soon we will hear the patter of tiny paws at Lok Kawi.

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