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An Interesting Snow Leopard Quest Trip Report


kittykat23uk
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Hi folks,

 

There's a very good read posted on Bird Forum of a Snow leopard quest, plus India. Thought it might be of interest:

 

http://www.birdforum...ad.php?t=244151

 

Jo

Edited by kittykat23uk
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Clouded leopard was one thing (on my list of the un-attainables); snow leopards (and Siberian tigers) quite another. Wow

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Very interesting and certainly a good read they were pretty lucky, but not as lucky as these guys from the company Tropical Birding Finding the Grey Ghost a Quest for Snow Leopard

 

 

Clouded leopard was one thing (on my list of the un-attainables); snow leopards (and Siberian tigers) quite another. Wow

A clouded leopard isn't un-attainable in fact I would say that seeing a clouded leopard is actually a lot easier than seeing a snow leopard in that while there are no guarantees in either case and you still need a lot of luck there’s a lot less effort is involved. The extreme cold and altitude in places like Hemis NP makes finding the snow leopard extra difficult

 

I’m not sure where the best place to see a mainland clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa is but the Sunda Island/Bornean species Neofelis Diardi can be seen in the Danum Valley at Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Sabah

 

Here’s another trip report from the same company Tropical Birding Malaysia: The Peninsula& Borneo

 

On another trip this year they missed the clouded leopard but saw a fabulous marbled cat instead which is not a bad substitute and one that's definitely on my list or should I say still missing from my list Borneo: Broadbills & Bristleheads

Edited by inyathi
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To be honest I have read/heard of a lot more success finding Snow Leopard than finding Clouded Leopard, but that could just be that there are more tours specifically targeting this species. I would love to see either in the wild (they are both quite frequently kept in captivity but seeing in the wild is quite another thing). The idea of camping in minus degrees and spending hours staring at rocks doesn't really fill me with much enthusiasm, but doing what Jos did, combining a quest with some time looking for tiger might tempt me to do a trek at some point. Mind you I struggled with the walking in Madagascar A trip to that altitude could really get to me!

 

ETA Okay Borneo has just shot up my list of places to visit! :D

Edited by kittykat23uk
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A clouded leopard isn't un-attainable in fact I would say that seeing a clouded leopard is actually a lot easier than seeing a snow leopard in that while there are no guarantees in either case and you still need a lot of luck there’s a lot less effort is involved. The extreme cold and altitude in places like Hemis NP makes finding the snow leopard extra difficult

 

I’m not sure where the best place to see a mainland clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa is but the Sunda Island/Bornean species Neofelis Diardi can be seen in the Danum Valley at Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Sabah

 

Here’s another trip report from the same company Tropical Birding Malaysia: The Peninsula& Borneo

 

On another trip this year they missed the clouded leopard but saw a fabulous marbled cat instead which is not a bad substitute and one that's definitely on my list or should I say still missing from my list Borneo: Broadbills & Bristleheads

 

Been there, done that, did not get the T-shirt - as it were :) Do proboscis monkeys "in-flight" as they jumped into the river to swim across count? No? I thought not.

 

"Unattainable" (poor choice of word of course, since it is not precisely true) was used in the same sense as "winning first prize in a lottery"

 

I paid my somewhat small dues on the Kinabatangan River in the Sukau area in north Borneo (dues-wise, small potatoes as you say compared with the effort required to sight a snow leopard in the wild). It took my guide two years of plying his trade before he sighted his first. A few hundred days of exposure compared with my few days. Maybe the odds are like tenth prize in a lottery? :P

Edited by johnkok
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...ETA Okay Borneo has just shot up my list of places to visit! :D

An even longer way for you than Africa, and a 7-8 hour time change to boot. And Borneo is nothing like Africa. For the big game people, there just isn't the same quantity and variety of big mammals. For a Madagascan-veteran like you, it might work :)

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It's the cost that is the biggest issue. I would probably have to do some research and see if I could shave down the price quite a bit if I go there.

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I saw Jos' report and really enjoyed it - wow they were lucky. Look forward to following up on Inyathi's links.

 

I saw Expedition Tiger, a BBC 3 part documentary where Alan Rabinowitz, a camera crew and some academics and went to Bhutan to conduct a bio-diversity study. They found tigers living at the highest altitude known, possibly 3000m above sea level if I'm remembering correctly. They also caught a snow leopard on the camera traps and had multiple sightings of clouded leopards.

 

I'm hoping that Bhutan opens up to wildlife travellers in the same way as it has to cultural tourism - well, sort of. The trekking could be a problem, especially at altitude.

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... BBC 3 ... 3000m

Would that be BBC3, 3000m and 3 months for their multiple sightings? :P

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There are a few tour available if you wanted to visit Bhutan:

 

http://www.naturetrek.co.uk/searchpage.aspx?country=BTN&price=PP&region=AS&cat=YY&date=ZZ

 

The thing with the whole difficulty of Snow Leopard Vs Clouded Leopard (and this is just from doing some very brief research) is that with the Snow leopard, that is what you go for. That is the main focus of the tour and you have people out tracking the signs and you basically spend the time scouring the area for that special glimpse! Going at the right time helps stack the odds in your favour too.

 

If you look at e.g. Naturetrek, they report a 50% chance of success based on their track record to date for Snow leopard in Ladakh.

 

However, even though they run several tours to Borneo, there are none that target Clouded Leopard and I looked through the archive of trip reports and couldn't find any reference to them seeing one. I did find a few other TRs from the Danum Valley where people were lucky enough to see one and a photo of one taken at the lower Kinabatangan River. So it seems you just have to get really, really lucky to chance upon one.

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Thanks for the link Jo.

 

The Naturetrek Borneo and mainland Malaysia trips including Fraser's Hill and Taman Negara are high on my list of trips for retirement. Borneo Rainforest Lodge intrigues me and I hope to travel there some day in the next 5-10 years.

 

Sadly, I really don't think I'm fit enough to go trekking for Snow Leopard.

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I am seriously thinking of a Borneo trip now. :D Just the bird life is enough to go for and I might be tempted to do it independently to save some costs maybe (worked well for Mad anyway). Be good if a few other STers were interested, especially any with a knowledge of the birds). Wouldn't be until end of next year or the year after probably though as, if I can't get anyone to share a room for my India trip I am going to need to spend more than I really would like to because of the single supplement.. :(

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  • 2 months later...

Great links on this page! I just spent the last couple hours reading the trip reports - wow! Makes us want to get back to Borneo asap! We had a pretty awesome trip a couple years back ,and even a clouded leopard was spotted....Gotta get back there!

 

Here is our trip report - might serve as a good reference:

 

http://cokesmithphototravel.com/expedition-to-borneo.html

 

Cheers,

 

Coke

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Coke, myself and a guy from the mammal blog are in very early discussions about maybe going to Borneo in march 2014, if you and yours are interested could include you in discussions. :)

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Sure think Kittykat - I am happy to give any input I can. Jealous!

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  • 1 month later...

I've just spent the last two hours skiving off work reading the report.

 

Thanks for posting it.

 

 

Great links on this page! I just spent the last couple hours reading the trip reports - wow! Makes us want to get back to Borneo asap! We had a pretty awesome trip a couple years back ,and even a clouded leopard was spotted....Gotta get back there!

 

Here is our trip report - might serve as a good reference:

 

http://cokesmithphototravel.com/expedition-to-borneo.html

 

Cheers,

 

Coke

 

I was just about to say how jealous I was as you've seen a clouded leopard then I realised that you missed it.

 

That must be gut wrenching.

Edited by Csaba
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No problem. For what it's worth, march looks to be a better time to go. my friend saw four on his trip and some people we. Travelled with in Gujarat saw seven on one day, then none for the remainder of the time they were there.

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