15 March, 2007

Safari Notes: Leopard Changes Its Spots

More new species of animals continue to be discovered. It's amazing. Most of the recent discoveries have been in remote jungles. The latest discovery, is that of the clouded leopard.

Scientists have discovered that the clouded leopard found on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra is an entirely new species of cat. The secretive rainforest animal was originally thought to be the same species as the one found in mainland Southeast Asia.

"Genetic research results clearly indicate that the clouded leopards of Borneo and Sumatra should be considered a separate species," said Dr Stephen O'Brien, Head of the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, U.S. National Cancer Institute. "DNA tests highlighted around 40 differences between the two species."

"Who said a leopard can never change its spots? For over a hundred years we have been looking at this animal and never realized it was unique," said Adam Tomasek, head of WWF's Borneo and Sumatra program. "The fact that Borneo's top predator is now considered a separate species further emphasizes the uniqueness of the island and the importance of conserving the Heart of Borneo."

Image: interlude's photostream

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