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
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.