The Leopard Cat is a native of Hong Kong, yet they are difficult to see and even more difficult to photograph, as they are highly secretive and Leopard Cats are nocturnal – active mostly at night or in the early morning.
After coming out of quarantine in late September 2020 I was lucky enough to find and photograph one. Then two weeks later I took my wife on a similar walk, and she spotted this beauty up in a tree. It was there for a moment, looking at us, and of course I only had a 100mm macro lens, but by using Auto ISO (c.8,000 it was I think) and a slow shutter speed with the aperture wide open I was able to get this picture with no flash, just a torchlight shining on the tree to avoid startling the animal and also to not have the red eye glare in its eyes.
A Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is slightly larger than a domestic cat, living in holes or caves during daylight and hunting at night. The much larger and more ferocious South China Tiger (Panthera tigris amoyensis) also lived in Hong Kong, but the last one was shot reportedly in 1942.
These lovely cats are threatened by habitat loss, interbreeding with feral cats and also they are a popular target of illegal trading as a pet or for its fur.
How do you get to see a Leopard Cat? well, I thought I would point out that you too can see these elegant animals at KADOORIE FARM AND BOTANICAL GARDENS…. Where this picture was taken, from outside the enclosure and through the glass, using a slow shutter speed (with tripod) and a polorizor to cut the reflection.
Note these pictures are of the Leopard Cat sisters, Chomel and Manis, which are at the mammal display at Kadoorie Farm.
Yes, these were taken outside the enclosure and through the glass…so you too can get some Leopard Cat pictures! Go visit now.