We are excited to announce that BNF has launched our new Cameras for Cats campaign, raising money for an upcoming multi-landscape research initiative to uncover the secret lives of Borneo’s wild cats.
Whilst orangutans have become near-synonymous with the island’s wildlife, Borneo is host to thousands of other animal species, including five wild cats: the bay cat, Sunda clouded leopard, marbled cat, Sunda leopard cat and flat-headed cat. Little is currently known about these cats’ behavioural ecology, and population estimates are mostly based on small-scale studies conducted outside of Indonesian Borneo.
But what we do know is that all five cat species are at risk. The main threat to Borneo’s wild cats is habitat loss and degradation through wide-scale conversion to agriculture, forest fires, and logging and mining operations. Poaching for bushmeat, pelts, or for sale through the illegal pet trade also poses a risk to these animals. As yet, we simply do not have the data to accurately assess how human activities impact Borneo’s wild cats; and without truly understanding these threats, it becomes impossible to develop conservation action plans with any lasting positive effect.
This is where BNF comes in. Our Cameras for Cats campaign will fund a programme of intensive camera trapping across three different habitats in Central Kalimantan. Since wild cats are highly elusive, camera traps are our best bet at gathering data to determine population estimates and distribution.
We have established the Kalimantan Wild Cat Initiative in partnership with Re:Wild and Panthera. Led by Indonesian scientists, this will be a flagship project for Borneo’s wild cats, putting these understudied and poorly protected species in the conservation spotlight.
Building on research activities at BNF’s field sites in Central Kalimantan (Sebangau National Park, Rungan and Barito Ulu), this project aims to assess the status of Kalimantan’s wild cats using camera trap surveys. We will evaluate how conservation interventions impact cat populations by conducting interviews with local communities, and set up a new Borneo Cat Working Group, bringing together all groups working on cat conservation across Borneo. This will lead to the creation of regional Action Plans, focused conservation strategies to protect Borneo’s threatened wild cat species. Ultimately, our goal is to see these strategies implemented across Kalimantan, so we’ve no small task ahead of us!
More information about our Cameras for Cats campaign and the Kalimantan Wild Cat Initiative will be available on our website and social media over the coming weeks. In the meantime, please DONATE to become a #WildCatWarrior and support vital conservation research in Borneo.
Written by Olivia Pilmore-Bedford, Communications Officer BNF International