New population of rare cat species discovered on Borneo
There is little known about the bay cat; one of the five wild cat species found on the island of Borneo. Scientists have struggled to gather basic information on the animal’s biology, behaviour and distribution due to its secretive nature.
But, we're now one step closer to understanding this secretive species. Incredible camera trap footage of the bay cat has been captured in a forest, where people thought it did not exist.
Working in collaboration with scientists from Muhammadiyah University Palangka Raya (Indonesia) and the University of Exeter (UK), Borneo Nature Foundation carried out wildlife surveys in the Rungan Forest in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. As part of the surveys, 52 camera traps were set up to discover what species live in the forest.
Despite reports that the bay cat (Catopuma badia) is not found in this area, a video of a male bay cat was captured revealing that the species does in fact inhabit the forest. The location of the video was approximately 64 km south-east outside its known distribution range.
The exact location of the animal has not been released as the Rungan Forest is not protected and the species is threatened with hunting across Borneo.
Cats can be some of the most difficult species to study in the wild. They are elusive, solitary and highly camouflaged. But, our knowledge and understanding of the secretive wild cats of Borneo is improving thanks to technology, like camera traps. Camera traps give us an insight into the lives of animals that are rarely, if ever seen, by people,
They are an important conservation tool as they can reveal crucial information that can help protect endangered species, like the bay cat.
There is still a lot we don’t know about the Borneo's rainforests and the clock is ticking. More surveys are needed to understand the distribution and ecological needs of the island's wildlife if we are to save species on the brink of extinction.
Source: Borneo Nature Foundation