Discovery of a Leopard Cat roadkill in Singapore
Mandai Road, 15th June 2001

I receive a babbling voicemail

I am away at a meeting and check my voicemail. Imagine my horror as I listen to an excited Charith describe leaving behind the body off a freshly-killed leopard cat along Mandai Road! My brain races to organise the troops for collection and to start making phone calls to the relevant ENV department to prevent the disposal off the body (I have previously lost a dugong and pangolin carcass to them). I also imagine pounding Charith's head agains the door as I then check my SMS'. To my relief, one from him says "found a leopard cat on the Mandai road exit - we've collected it for you - give me a call"

The chance encounter - Charith & the roadkill

From: Charith Pelpola
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 17:04:24 +0800
To: "Otterman Empire" <sivasothi@email.com>
Hi Siva -

... Ok so this is how we found the leopard cat - at 6:30am we (my camera crew and myself) were travelling along the BKE [Bukit Timah Expressway], headed towards Sungei Buloh for an early morning shoot.

On the Mandai Road exit, we passed what seemed to be a sizeable spotted animal lying on the road (by the signpost for the zoo).

With my usual delayed reaction, decided to go and take a look after we were on Mandai Road, so parked our vehicle at the nearest bus stop and ran like mad back along the exit road - and yes, it was a Leopard Cat - have been reading enough about them over the last few months to recognise one.

Well, like good journalists we filmed the animal as it was, without moving it from the road. Rang up Siva from the Raffles Museum and left directions on his voice-mail, so that they could come and collect it later.

Fortunately, I then rememberd that I was dealing with Siva and that he would have killed me if we had just left the cat there - so we brought it back to the Museum later that morning.

When handling the animal there was no stiffness in the body -perhaps signs of a relatively recent death. The animal was also noticeably heavier than a domestic cat - about the same as a small toy dog, like a cocker spaniel or a terrier.

Charith Pelpola
The Moving Visuals Co.

Leopard Cat on Mandai Road, photo by Charith Pelpola

Leopard Cat on Mandai Road, closeup, photo by Charith Pelpola

Preserving the specimen at the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR)

Dissecting the Leopard Cat specimen, photo by Charith Pelpola

Notes on the Leopard Cat

Leopard Cat, male.
Head smashed in, otherwise animal in good condition.
coll. Charith Pelpola, 11th June 2001
Mandai Road, west exit from Bukit Timah Expressway, by a signpost to the zoo.

Specimen deposited in RMBR, same day, put into freezer.

13th July 2001 - whole specimen fixed in formalin, will be transferred to alcohol later. Stomach contents and digestive tract were preserved in formalin; internal organs in alcohol. Specimen had very little fat, no evident physical injuries to internal organs. Lea Wee prepares story the same day, appears in The Sunday Times, 22nd July 2001.