Picture: rare cat photographed in Borneo not believed to be extinct

mongabay.com
January 15, 2011




Photograph released by the Sarawak forestry department


Camera traps have photographed a rare small cat species in Borneo, but contrary to claims in The Telegragh, which reported on the story, the Bornean bay cat was not believed to be extinct, only rare.

"No one thought this species was extinct," said Andrew Hearn, a small cat specialist at Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) who works in Borneo. "Very rare, yes, and probably always naturally rather rare, even relative to other Bornean felids."

"Not one of us believes the bay cat is extinct," confirmed Jim Sanderson, a cat expert at the Small Cat Conservation Alliance. "Certainly we believe the bay cat is rare."

According to Hearn, since first photographed by Vladimir Dinets in 2002 in Sarawak and then Azlan Azad in 2003, the bay cat has been photographed on multiple occasions in several Sabah forest reserves in Malaysian Borneo.

"It takes a really quite large effort to get this species to appear on the cameras, but of 5 forest sites I've surveyed so far, 4 of which were previously logged, we were only unable to detect this cat in one, the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary."

The latest images were captured in 2009 and 2010 by camera traps set by the forest department on the edge of Pulong Tai national park in northern Sarawak. Two or three individuals were photographed.

Wilhelmina Cluny, a research officer with the forest department, told AFP she was "encouraged" by the sighting.

"I do feel encouraged, this photograph was taken in a logged forest," she is quoted as saying. "When we saw this it made us wonder whether this kind of habitat can sustain wildlife, even for rare and important species like the bay cat."

"We had been looking for any mammals and this bay cat came up, it's quite exciting that we got the photograph."

Sanderson said the reason the bay cat is typically photographed in logged forests is that "it's easier to travel a logging road and set a camera than it is to trek through forest and set a camera."











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CITATION:
mongabay.com (January 15, 2011).

Picture: rare cat photographed in Borneo not believed to be extinct.

http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0115-bay_cat.html