The Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Center (BKSDA Kalimantan Tengah), together with the Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF) Indonesia, held a workshop on developing strategies for the conservation of wild cat species in Central Kalimantan Province, June 23, 2022.
Borneo is renowned for its biodiversity and wild cats are no exception, with five species found on the island. However, four are currently threatened with extinction due to habitat loss and hunting: the flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps), the bay cat (Catopuma badia), the marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata), and the clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi). A fifth species, the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), has a conservation status of Least Concern (LC).
The installation of camera traps to collect data on Borneo’s wild cats began 10 years ago in the Sebangau National Park. Traps were placed in various habitats, both at ground level and up in the forest canopy. Camera trapping efforts soon expanded to include the Rungan landscape, a mosaic of peat-swamp, heath, and lowland dipterocarp forest. Moreover, as of 2021, 20 camera traps have been deployed in the highland rainforests of Barito Ulu. Thanks to this multi-landscape research initiative, bay cat sightings have been recorded in Rungan and Barito Ulu.
Camera trap data is used to determine the presence of wild animals, but it can also provide information on a species’ population density, activity patterns, predation and competition dynamics to assess habitat suitability with the help of occupational analysis.
The bay cat is endemic to Kalimantan, but we still have much to learn about this elusive species. Few in-depth studies have been published on the bay cat’s behaviour, distribution and population density, and data is lacking due to limited survey area.
To remedy this lack of available data, the Central Kalimantan KSDA Centre and BNF Indonesia hosted a workshop, bringing together various agencies and institutions (including government, universities, the private sector, and NGOs) with a shared interest in protecting and understanding Borneo’s wild cats. The workshop therefore provided a platform for knowledge-sharing and collaborative research to inform species assessments and develop suitable conservation strategies.
“Besides facilitating data collection and information sharing, this workshop has brought together a dynamic network of researchers and policymakers who can make wild cats a priority to be preserved,” said Dr. Indra Exploitasia, MSc., Director of Species and Genetics Conservation at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry.
The Central Kalimantan Natural Resources Conservation Centre and BNF Indonesia would like to thank all parties for their support with this workshop, and hope that unified protection efforts can be established for the survival of wild cat species in Central Kalimantan and across Indonesia.
Photo: A borneo bay cat (Catopuma badia) caught in camera trap at Barito Ulu, Central Kalimantan, in 2021. Photo camera trap by BKSDA Kalteng and BNF Indonesia