Man 'trembles in fear and excitement' after sharing eye contact with wild leopard cat

Submitted by Stomper John

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Encountering a leopard cat in the wild is probably a once-in-lifetime opportunity that not many people would get.

Stomper John Lee, however, has spotted the extremely rare and critically endangered animal three times.

But it's not without hard work and determination.

John, founder of Wildlife Asia (Singapore), previously shared sightings of the leopard cat in January and December last year. While both times were priceless experiences, he did not capture the quality images that he wanted.

Well, the wildlife enthusiast's dedication to his craft has finally paid off over the weekend, with him getting to snag a lovely front photograph of the elusive creature.

John, who keeps the locations of his wildlife sightings under wraps in order to protect them, told Stomp on Sunday (Jan 15): "It was indeed a fruitful night trip.

"The leopard cat is very rare in Singapore and is a critically endangered wild animal, according to the Red Data Book List.

"With sheer determination over many unsuccessful attempts, I finally got a front shot of Singapore's last surviving wild cat species staring directly at me for a few seconds before it disappeared.

"I'd been looking for the cat eight times a month on every weekend, but failed to locate it despite searching many places. This time, I finally succeeded with good eye-to-eye contact with the cat.

"I only got took one photo as the sighting was so sudden and only saw the animal for a mere few seconds before it took off very quickly into the vegetation.

"The unexpected sighting caused me to tremble with fear and excitement, and thus caused a camera shake."

John said that it all happened so suddenly that he had not properly adjusted his camera settings or gotten his gear ready. The lighting was also too dark.

Nevertheless, he managed to get a memorable keepsake.

The Stomper added: "It's my third occasion seeing the extremely rare leopard cat in the wild in Singapore.

"I only had side views of the animal for the previous two sightings.

"This time round, I had the best front view as the cat was staring directly at me for a mere few seconds before it ran off into the forest."

The leopard cat is Singapore’s last native wildcat since the extinction of tigers and leopards here, with fewer than 50 of them remaining.

More info about leopard cats can be found on the Singapore Wildcat Action Group website.