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The Year Of The Cat

Borneo Island

Deep in a Borneo rainforest, a mysterious catlike creature pads across the jungle floor. It has dark red fur, a bushy tail, and could be the first new carnivore discovered there in more than 100 years.

Aside from that, little is known about it. Because scientists have to catch one first.

So far, biologists with the World Wildlife Fund have caught only two images of the animal, using what are called, "camera traps." These are motion-triggered cameras placed throughout Indonesia's Kayan Mentarang National Park. Some biologists think the images look like a type of lemur, but nothing can be confirmed until one is actually caught. The park contains the largest unbroken stretch of protected rainforest in Indonesia, so it's a major refuge for rare and endemic species. Just since 1994, researchers have discovered more than 360 new species. Mostly, plants and insects.

But it's possible that more undiscovered mammals live there, as the images of the mystery creature show.

Like most of the world's rainforests, some areas adjacent to the park are threatened by encroaching development.

But for now, within the park's safe haven, surprises still await science.

Script by Bob Rhein

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