Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis borneoensis) - Danum Valley, Malaysia
On my very last night at Danum Valley I went on a night hike that lasted until dawn, it was a fantastic night with lots of great encounters but the one that stands out the most for me was this one...the first time I have managed to photograph a wild feline!
I was walking along through the jungle and I caught sight of some eyeshine ahead, the eyeshine appeared to be following the path of a streambed so I moved ahead and waited. Before long this leopard cat turned the bend in the bank, I was very surprised, I had been expecting a civet! I think the cat had been surveying the stream bed for tasty frogs and such. When the cat saw me it paused and I took a few photos, i slowly crouched to get a better angle and a twig cracked underneath my heel. I winced as I expected the cat to take off, instead it perked up and began padding forward towards me! After coming a meter or so closer it paused, we sat there looking at each other and I cautiously tried grinding my heel a little bit more into the dirt, all the while careful to keep as still as possible. Upon hearing the noise the cat had the same reaction as before, it hunched down and began stalking forward once more, it stopped again and I repeated the process several times with the cat approaching closer and closer everytime. In the end the cat had approached withing just a few meters of me and sat there looking at me, finally it decided I wasn't worth its while turned around and within a few seconds vanished. It popped back into view several times to check to see if I was following and then was finally swallowed up by the night and I didn't see it again.
This photo was taken when the cat had approached me and was sitting there assessing me.