Sumatra, Indonesia has a network of protected areas important to wild cats. However, their presence is not confined to only these protected areas. Many populations exist outside the protected areas. This project aims to determine baseline population parameters of Sumatra’s wild cats in human-dominated landscapes and identify and mitigate critical threats to their survival, including deforestation for palm oil plantations and development. Despite a logging moratorium running for 13 years in Aceh, illegal logging and oil palm encroachment persists and will be hard to prevent given the global market demand for palm oil and subsistence. The increasingly shrinking and isolated wild habitats make species coexistence and survival very challenging, which can lead to an increase in human-wildlife conflicts.
Research: Close knowledge gaps in wild cat status and human-wild cat interactions in two protection forest management units through several surveys (camera trap surveys, socio-economic surveys, statistical modeling, and illegal market analysis).
Practice: Implement best practice wild cat conservation based on the results of the research that will include law enforcement, human-wildlife conflict mitigation, and development of a financial and administrative framework to maintain these in the long term.
Outreach: Raise awareness and build capacities of local stakeholders (scientists, decision-makers, local community members) to reduce threats and protect wild cat populations.
Project location - Indonesia, Asia
September 2, 2022
Between 20 May and 2 September patrols spent 241 days in the forest installing 78 camera traps in 39 stations along a 1,050km transect walk. Camera traps in Terangun-Beutong were fully completed in July 2022 and now the installation work begins in Site Soraya-Bengkung. In August our teams installed camera traps at 14 of the 100 stations within this site. As part of this field activity, they also removed cameras previously set up in Site Beutong and Soraya-Bengkung to analyse and digitally record the images captured. Out of the 36 species photographed, one is Critically Endangered (CR), five are Endangered (EN), six Vulnerable (VU), seven Near Threatened (NT), and 13 Least Concern (LC) with four unidentified.
See the routes covered and photographs from the camera traps by visiting this flickr photo album
August 31, 2022
Approximately 70% of the local community from Seulekat Village, Bakongan Timur district, South of Aceh, work as farmers and 30% as fishermen. A recent socio-economic study interviewed 36 men and 36 women to understand the attitudes towards wild cats following a recent Sumatran tiger incident involving a field worker. The Sumatran tiger has been encountered numerous times in the community and is causing fear and loss of income. When a conflict occurs, Aceh Natural Resource and Conservation Centre (BKSDA) working with local NGOs, and our team at Forum Konservasi Leuser (FKL), set up camera traps to detect tiger presence and box traps to rescue the tigers. Tigers that fall into the trap are then rehabilitated and released back into the forest.
Further interviews at a neighbouring village are planned which will enable our team to use the survey results to characterise socio-demographics, attitudes and other variables such as proportion of cattle reported to have been killed by wild cats, knowledge of wild cats, perception toward importance of conservation, wild cats’ sightings and safety concerns. Based on this information a concept for human-wildlife conflict mitigation solutions will be developed.
August 16, 2022
Two training courses were hosted by SINTAS Indonesia Foundation and our partner Forum Konservasi Leuser (FKL). The refresher Survey Method and Patrol Evaluation were carried out at Soraya Research Station. This training was to evaluate the camera trap installation that was conducted for one year at Site Terangun-Beutong, to retrain the method and sampling data and to evaluate the survey and patrol effort of the team rangers at the various sites.
August 14, 2022
Panthera wildlife and conservation photographer, Sebastian Kennerknecht visited the Soraya-Bengkung site and joined team Soraya 1 for a survey and patrol. The objective was to photograph the field activities of the team rangers, along with the process of camera trap installation. Besides the photography, Sebastian also joined the method refresher training and evaluation for the team rangers and made a visit to FKL’s restoration station.
July 29, 2022
Visits to 20 elementary schools in South Aceh Regency and six in Agam District were made to distribute posters and merchandise in celebration of Global Tiger Day and to raise awareness of tiger conservation. The highlight of celebrations was the ‘Bike Cats Festival’ which saw participants cycling 104km circling one of the Javan leopard habitats to the tail of Mount Gede Pangrango National Park. The three-day event concluded at AEON Mall Sentul City, West Java which was filled with various activities aimed at children included drawings and puzzles of protected animals, seeking to educate them on the importance of safeguarding our tigers.
Enjoy all the photographs from these events by visiting this flickr photo album
February 7, 2022
Between December and early February our teams captured photographs of the Critically Endangered Sumatran Tiger, the Sumatran Orangutan and the Sunda Pangolin. The four expeditions, along 516 kilometres of transect walks, recorded 45 different species as well as claw marks, footprints and faeces indicating significant animal activity in the area. They also inspected all of the camera traps and encountered one that was destroyed by a Sun bear.
Enjoy all the photographs from these expeditions by visiting this flickr photo album
January 7, 2022
During a 118-day forest patrol survey ranger teams found former hunters camps and snares as well as numerous signs of illegal logging activity. Shrinking habitats due to deforestation are causing significant species coexistence challenges. Determining possible solutions to mitigate this human-wildlife conflict in the study area will be addressed during the planned SMART patrol refresher courses.
December 15, 2021
Here is some exciting news from our conservation partner in Indonesia – Panthera. Their camera traps recorded four different species of wild cats in the project area, including a Marbled cat. “I was expecting to have some detections of tigers, clouded leopards and Asian golden cats,” said Wai-Ming Wong, Panthera’s small cat scientists, “but to have one of a marbled cat this early on is promising as they are quite hard to get on camera.” A sampling of camera trap images are presented below.
September 15, 2021
200 Camera traps arrived in Indonesia in September. The team is deploying the cameras in a grid pattern into the forests of Sumatra. With systematic coverage of the forest, the field team hopes to record the presence and diversity of wild cat species there.