We began camera trap surveys in 2008 in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) at the University of Oxford, UK. Our camera trap project in Sebangau National Park is the first long-term and intensive study of the clouded leopard and other felids in Borneo’s rainforests. We are committed to understanding the density and abundance of these under-studied species.
We place camera traps in different areas of the forest, at ground level and high up in the canopy, to collect data on species present, time of day, and if possible sex, age class and individual identification. We have surveyed eight research sites across Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, and confirmed the presence of clouded leopards in seven of these forests.
Although we have had camera traps in the Sebangau National Park forest for over a decade, there is still much more to discover. There are five wild cat species on Borneo, but we have only ever recorded four in this forest; the endemic and rarely seen bay cat does not appear to be present in peat-swamp forests such as Sebangau National Park. We have compiled data on clouded leopard densities, social and ranging behaviour, and long-term population trend data for the marbled, flat-headed and leopard cats. We are still learning about the smaller cats and we want to know more about the clouded leopards, particularly the females and their cubs which seem expert at avoiding our cameras.
In 2016, we initiated another long-term camera trap project at our field site in the Rungan Forest. That same year we captured the first ever photo of the bay cat in the area, thus establishing the presence of all five of Borneo’s wild cats in Rungan, the only site in Central Kalimantan known to have all five. Our press release on the presence of this rare and endangered cat attracted international media attention as there is so little known about this species.
Scientists have struggled to gather information on the biology, behaviour and distribution of Borneo’s wild cats, particularly the bay cat, due to their stealthy nature. Using innovative technology, such as camera traps, will help us unlock the mysteries of the secretive cats of Borneo.
About our camera traps