Wild encounters

26 06 2016

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Hong Kong’s urban wildlife has been in the news again, with a man bitten by a lethal Taiwanese cobra in the area I like to jog through, near the Wah Fu estate.

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I also had another close encounter, walking home at night down a concrete staircase from the Chi Fu estate to Pok Fu Lam Road. I saw a strange slinky silhouette ahead of me – the size of a large cat but the wrong shape – and then the shadow darted away and seemingly reappeared on the upper branches of a banyan tree nearby. From the thick white line down the centre of its face I was able to identify the weasel-like species as a masked palm civet – likely source of the SARS virus ( if eaten) and here living right in the heart of one of the world’s most populous cities, albeit on the lower slopes of the still thickly-forested peak.

Earlier in the day I had come face to face with another Asian species, the gigantic “sunset moth” (Lyssa zampa), with creepy grey and jagged wings, when I found a specimen at rest on a wall in a quiet backstreet of Wanchai.

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