Marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 0925192
Indonesia harbors one of the highest levels of mammal biodiversity in the world, yet has been losing its forests at one of the fastest rates of any nation in the world (Rhee et al. 2004). In Sumatra alone, over 50% of the forest cover has disappeared since 1987 (WWF 2009) and habitat loss continues to be the single largest threat to wildlife. The primary causes of deforestation are illegal logging and agricultural encroachment. The study site for this project, Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park (BBSNP), is bordered by villages and agricultural fields, with an estimated 450,000 people living within 10 km of the park boundary (WCS 2007). Although it contains some of the island's last lowland forests, and harbors some of the most endangered species in the world, the park has recently been inundated by illegal logging and agriculture, causing a decimation of 28% of its forests between 1985 and 1999 (Kinnaird et al. 2003).
The marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata), Sundaland clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi), and Asiatic golden cat (Catopuma temminckii) occur sympatrically throughout Sumatra, and it is thought that the region may harbor relatively high numbers of individuals when compared to mainland range countries (Clouded Leopard and Small Felid Conservation Summit, 2009, Unpub. Data). However, to date, there have been no field studies focused on the ecology and conservation of any one of these species in Sumatra, and we must rely on data gathered from the small number of studies and anecdotal accounts from mainland Southeast Asia and Borneo (Hose 1893, Rabinowitz et al. 1987, Humphrey and Bain 1990, Nowell and Jackson 1996, Holden 2001, Austin 2002, Grassman and Tewes 2002, Ghose 2002, Grassman et al. 2005, Azlan and Sharma 2006, Wilting et al. 2006, Choudhury 2007, Wang 2007). As a result, there is a lack of information on every aspect of each species' life history in Sumatra, including population structure, habitat selectivity, behavior, and basic ecological niche. This lack of information makes it difficult to estimate the actual population status in the region, or the potential effect of habitat loss; and impossible to create specific conservation goals and accurately measure the effects of conservation initiatives.
To elucidate the ecology of the marbled cat, clouded leopard and golden cat in Sumatra, have implemented camera trapping sessions throughout the park. Capture-recapture methods will be used for independent estimates of population size, density and presence-absence. Concurrent collaring efforts will provide a more robust estimate of home range, allowing increased accuracy in the calculation of effective sampling area for the camera trapping portion of the study, and more accurate density estimates in the park (Fuller et al. 2001, Harrison et al. 2002). The population trend of small and medium-sized felids in BBSNP will be examined through the comparison of the present data to that of a historical tiger camera trapping study. We will also use the camera trap data to assess spatial and temporal partitioning between the five species of felid occurring in the park.
Project 0925192 location - Indonesia, Asia