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The bay cat in Kalimantan, new information from recent sightings

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Through the use of camera traps we present new information on the distribution of bay cats Catopuma badia in Kalimantan including two new confirmed locations. Nine sites were surveyed between 2011-2014 across Central and East Kalimantan. All new photographs were taken during daylight hours and only 1 of 4 cats was captured near water. We consider the presence and non-detection of bay cats in different forest types and at different elevations noting that the photos were obtained from cameras placed at or higher than the average altitude of the whole camera grid at each site and all from disturbed forest. The distribution of cameras is not believed to affect detection of bay cats as long as all micro-habitat types are surveyed. We highlight the priority of peat-swamp forests for additional survey effort.
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CATnews 62 Spring 2015
10
original contribution
WIWIT J. SASTRAMIDJAJA
1
, SUSAN M. CHEYNE
1,3
, BRENT LOKEN
2
AND DAVID
M. MACDONALD
3
The bay cat in Kalimantan,
new information from recent
sightings
Through the use of camera traps we present new information on the distribution of
bay cats Catopuma badia in Kalimantan including two new confirmed locations.
Nine sites were surveyed between 2011-2014 across Central and East Kalimantan.
All new photographs were taken during daylight hours and only 1 of 4 cats was
captured near water. We consider the presence and non-detection of bay cats in dif-
ferent forest types and at different elevations noting that the photos were obtained
from cameras placed at or higher than the average altitude of the whole camera grid
at each site and all from disturbed forest. The distribution of cameras is not believed
to affect detection of bay cats as long as all micro-habitat types are surveyed. We
highlight the priority of peat-swamp forests for additional survey effort.
Description and taxonomy
The bay cat is endemic to the island of Bor-
neo and is the worlds least studied felid
(Sunquist & Sunquist 2002). Alfred Russel
Wallace collected the first specimen in 1855,
which was sent to the British Museum and
arrived in a poor state of preservation (Gray
1874). Originally, this specimen was cata-
logued as a flat-headed cat Prionailurus pla-
niceps, although there remained doubt in its
proper identification (Sunquist et al. 1994)
and it was not until 1874 that J. E. Gray de-
scribed this specimen as a new species (Gray
1874). By 1928 eight pelts of the bay cat had
been collected but scientists had to wait until
1992 before an adult female was caught by
trappers on the Sarawak/Indonesia border
(Sunquist et al. 1994). This female specimen,
which was brought to the Sarawak Museum,
gave some clues that the bay cat appeared
to be smaller but morphologically related to
the Asiatic golden cat Catopuma temminckii
(Sunquist et al. 1994).
Distribution
Mohd.-Azlan & Sanderson (2007) mapped 15
locations in Kalimantan, Sarawak and Sabah
where the bay cat has been recorded. Many
more records have been published as camera
trapping becomes more widely used, though
these are predominantly from Sabah and Sa-
rawak (e.g. Yasuda et al. 2007, Mohamed et
al. 2009, Brodie & Giordano 2010, Mathai et
al. 2010, Rustam et al. 2012, Mohd.-Azlan &
Engkamat 2013, Wearn et al. 2013, Bernard
et al. 2014). Our research adds two new loca-
tions within East Kalimantan; Kutai National
Park and Wehea Protection Forest and con-
firms the persistence of the bay cat in Sungai
Wain Protection Forest (SOM T1). We also
present data on locations where the bay cat
was surveyed for but not detected.
Ecology
The bay cat is so elusive, that its habits are
scarcely known. As all previous sightings
have been near bodies of water, such as ri-
vers and mangroves, it has been suggested
that the bay cat may be associated with such
habitat (Mohd.-Azlan & Sanderson 2007).
Another possibility, raised by Sunquist & Sun-
quist (2002), is that this reflects the routes
used by researchers to travel through dense
forests more than the felids’ preference. Fur-
ther, most camera trap studies focus on ani-
mal activity on the forest floor, offering little
insight into the use of the canopy. Anecdotal
records from Ulu Sarikei strengthen this idea,
where hunters claimed to have seen a bay cat
1 m above the ground on a branch (Mohd.-
Azlan & Sanderson 2007). Clearly, the more
arboreal the bay cat, the more it will be un-
derrepresented in camera trap studies. There
is uncertainty as to the diet of the bay cat and
no knowledge on its breeding behavior, since
live-caught specimens have all died before
there had been an opportunity to study them
(Sunquist & Sunquist 2002, Mohd.-Azlan &
Sanderson 2007)
New records
We report two new sites in Wehea and Ku-
tai, and the confirmed continued presence of
the bay cat in Sungai Wain, all in East Kali-
mantan (Table 1). All photographs were taken
during daylight hours. The bay cat caught on
camera in the Sungai Wain Protection Forest
was found crossing a log over a river (SOM
F1). However, both records from the Kutai
National Park were from regenerating, previ-
ously burned forest and more than 2 km from
the nearest body of water (SOM F2). Both
records from Wehea Forest were along old
logging roads in regenerating forest and were
not near any bodies of water (Fig. 1, Table 2).
All photos were taken at locations with an
altitude of more than 50 m and five sightings
were above 100 m (Table 1). All photos of the
bay cats were at or higher than the average
altitude of the whole camera grid at each
site. Four of the five photos were taken du-
ring the day. Cameras were placed randomly
across the landscape. For Kutai and Sungai
Wain cameras were placed in undisturbed fo-
rest and forest which has recovered/is reco-
vering from forest fire (burnt areas). In Wehea
the whole area has been logged at various
times in the past so all cameras were in pre-
viously logged/recovering forest. We do not
believe that the placement of the cameras
in the micro-habitat areas disproportionately
affected capture rates as bay cats were cap-
tured in both previously burnt and previously
logged forest.
Table 1. Details of new bay cat sightings from this study
Location Date Time Proximity to river Elevation Min camera asl Mean camera asl Max camera asl
Kutai NP Photo 1 08.01.2013 08:41h N 158 41 152 246
Kutai NP Photo 2 16.02.2013 18:39h N 206 41 152 246
Sungai Wain 10.07.2012 13:13h Y 69 35 69 86
Wehea Photo 1 04.03.2012 12:57h N 400 181 362 485
Wehea Photo 2 02.03.2013 12:49h N 329 230 281 390
CATnews 62 Spring 2015
11
bay cat in Kalimantan
Distribution of bay cats
Povey et al. (2009) looked at 11 sites in In-
donesian Borneo and provided concrete evi-
dence for bay cat presence in four of these
(Table 4). Our study looked at nine sites and
found evidence in three: Only Sungai Wain
was included in both the 2009 review and
this study; Kutai National Park and Wehea
are new locations (Table 3). The bay cat is
reported across all Indonesian Borneo provin-
ces except South Kalimantan, likely due to a
lack of camera trap survey effort in this region
(Povey et al. 2009). With over 7 years of long-
term camera trap surveying in the Sabangau
catchment, the bay cat has not been de-
tected. If peat-swamp forests are not suitable
habitat for bay cats they will be restricted to
dry forests and more montane areas.
Conservation status and threats
The bay cat is fully protected over most of its
range, and hunting and trade are prohibited.
In Indonesia it is protected under the flora and
fauna protection law (PP 7, 1999). The IUCN
lists the bay cat on its Red List as Endanger-
ed and CITES lists it on Appendix II. The high
value placed on the cat puts enormous pres-
sure on its survival. Local trappers and animal
dealers are well aware that foreign zoos and
breeding facilities will pay U.S. $ 10,000 or
more for a live specimen (Sunquist & Sun-
quist 2002). The fact that this felid appears
to avoid human settlements, may mean that
it is facing particularly severe habitat loss due
to the logging of pristine forest (Hearn et al.
2008). While absence of evidence does not
constitute evidence of absence, the lack of re-
cords from peat-swamp forest may represent
a further restriction on the options open to bay
cats, which may be absent from the 68,000
km
2
peat-swamp forests in Kalimantan.
Acknowledgements
The Robertson Foundation provided funding for the
majority of the work through collaboration with the
Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department
of Zoology, University of Oxford. The fieldwork
was possible through the collaboration of many
individuals, organizations and universities: the Ou-
Trop-CIMTROP multi-disciplinary research project,
Balai Lingkungan Hidup in Purak Cahu, Pak Herry
Mulyadi Tuwan, Pak Purwanto, Pak Agusdin, Stan
Lhota, Gabriella Fredriksson, The Nature Conser-
vancy, Yayorin, the Bupati of Lamandau Regency,
Wehea Management Body, Lembaga Adat of Ne-
has Liah Bing, Dr. Chandradewana Boer, Dr Yaya
Rayadin, Dr Suwido H. Limin, Indonesian Ministry
of Science and Technology (RISTEK) and Director
General of Nature Conservation (PHKA). Additio-
nal financial support was provided by the Vanier
Canada Graduate Scholarship, Pierre Elliot Tru-
deau Foundation, LUSH Cosmetics, The Clouded
Leopard Project/Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium,
Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, Integrated
Conservation, International Animal Rescue, The
Barito River Initiative for Nature Conservation and
Communities (BRINCC), the Orangutan Foundation
UK and The Rufford Small Grants Foundation.
References
Bernard H., Baking E. L., Giordano A. J., Wearn O.
R & Hamid A. A. 2014. Small, Terrestrial mam-
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forest patches within an oil palm landscape in
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141-154.
Brodie J. & Giordano A. 2010. Small carnivores of
the Maliau Basin, Sabah, Borneo, including a
new locality for Hose’s Civet Diplogale hosei.
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Gray J. E. 1874. Description of a new species of
cat (Felis badia) from Sarawak. Proceedings of
the Zoological Society of London 42, 322-325.
Hearn A., Sanderson J., Ross J., Wilting A. & Su-
narto S. 2008. Pardofelis badia. IUCN 2013.
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version
2013.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Accessed on
17 August 2013.
Mathai J., Hon J., Juat N., Peter A. & Gumal M.
2010. Small carnivores in a logging concession
in the Upper Baram, Sarawak, Borneo. Small
Carnivore Conservation 42, 1-9.
Mohamed A., Samejima H. & Wilting A. 2009.
Records of five Bornean cat species from Dera-
makot Forest Reserve in Sabah, Malaysia. Cat
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ping and conservation in Lambir Hills National
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distribution and conservation status of the bay
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prasert D., Reed D., Wilting A., Lynam A., Hai-
dai I., Long B., Johnson A., Cheyne S. M., Brei-
tenmoser C., Traylor-Holzer K. & Byers O. 2009.
Clouded Leopard and Small Felid Conservation
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Bangkok, Thailand. 171 pp.
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of mammalian communities in a human-distur-
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462 pp.
Fig. 1. Bay cat pictured in Wehea Forest, Kalimantan.
Table 2. Camera placing and sightings of bay cats in relation to micro-site charac-
teristics. Number in brackets is the number of images of bay cats.
Site
% cameras in
undisturbed
sites
% cameras
in logged
sites
% cameras in
sites which have
experienced
burning
% cameras
in plantation
sites
Total
number
of bay cat
images
Kutai 31 (0) 0 69 (2) 0 2
Sungai
Wain
77 (0) 0 23 (1) 0 1
Wehea 0 77 (2) 0 0 2
CATnews 62 Spring 2015
12
Sastramidjaja et al.
Wearn O. R., Rowcliffe J. M., Carbone C., Bernard
H. & Ewers R.M. 2013. Assessing the Status of
Wild Felids in a Highly-Disturbed Commercial
Forest Reserve in Borneo and the Implications
for Camera Trap Survey Design. PLoS One 8.
e77598.
Yasuda M., Matsubayashi H., Rustam, Numata S.,
Rafiah J. A. S. & Abu Bakar S. 2007. Recent cat
records by camera traps in Peninsular Malay-
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Supporting Online Material SOM Table T1 and Fig-
ures F1-F2 are available at www.catsg.org
1
Orang-utan Tropical Peatland Project, Jalan
Semeru No. 91, Bukit Hindu, Palangka Raya, In-
donesia.
2
Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive,
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada V5A 1S6
3
Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU),
Department of Zoology, Oxford University, The
Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Tubney House, Abing-
don Road, Tubney, OX13 5QL, UK.
The bay cat which is endemic to Borneo and
listed as Endangered under the IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species Version 2014.3 (Hearn
et al. 2008) is considered one of the rarest and
least known felids in the world (Azlan & San-
derson 2007). It has been recorded with two
colour phases, a reddish bay coat and bla-
ckish grey coat, the latter morph is thought to
be the rarer of the two (Kitchener et al. 2004,
Azlan & Sanderson 2007). It has been recor-
ded in a range of habitats including primary
forest (Yasuda et al. 2007) and regenerating
logged forest (Hearn & Bricknell 2003, Hon
2011), though not in monoculture plantations
(McShea et al. 2009, Ross et al. 2010).
Little is known about the ecology, popu-
lation biology and principle threats of the
bay cat (Mohamed et al. 2009). In Sarawak,
it has only been recorded in the northern
part in Mulu National Park (Dinets 2003)
and Pulong Tau National Park (Brodie &
Giordano 2012), and in the central part in
Lanjak Entimau Wildlife Sanctuary (Azlan
et al. 2003). The bay cat was also recorded
in a logging concession in the Anap Muput
Forest Management Unit (Hon 2011). Here,
we report images of a black morph bay cat
recorded from the Gunong Pueh Forest Re-
serve (GPFR) in the most western part of
Sarawak (Fig. 1).
Study area
In general, Gunong Pueh Forest Reserve
(GPFR) comprises of steep to very steep slo-
pes, scattered with boulders from the foot to
the peaks. Gunong Kanyi is the highest peak
recorded at 1600 m a.s.l. The mixed diptero-
carp forest is dominant while the montane
forest occurred close to and at the peak. The
GPFR was logged from the 1970s until the
late 1980s with most of the logged areas now
particularly in the middle range, and areas at
the peak have undergone new regeneration.
Between 2010 and 2014, logging activity was
carried out again but concentrated in the cen-
tral part. Even though, logging was carried
out twice in GPFR, not all areas are logged
because some areas are reserved as water
catchment. In some cases boulders naturally
prevent logging activity.
Method
The study is a preliminary study on the ecolo-
gy of wild cat’s species in Sarawak. Reconyx
5.0MP (7 units) and Scout guard (10 units)
camera traps were used and randomly placed
on animal trails on the slopes and ridges from
350 m to 1150 m a.sl. All camera traps were
running from January 2013 until August 2014
with an average distance between stations of
400 m to 3 km. Camera height from the ground
AHMAD AMPENG
1
, SAPUAN AHMAD
2
, SYAFIANI OSMAN
3
, MARZUKI BUJANG
3
AND ANUAR
BUJANG
3
An interesting morph of the
Borneo bay cat in Sarawak,
Malaysian Borneo
A black morph Borneo bay cat Catopuma badia was recorded at Gunong Pueh
Forest Reserve, located in the most western part of Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo.
This is the first record of a black morph from a survey effort totalling 10,066 trap
nights in which the species coloration recorded had either a reddish bay coat or
a blackish grey coat.
Table 3. 17 areas with information on Borneo bay cat in Indonesian Borneo from a
workshop in 2009 (Povey et al. 2009) and this study. NP = National Park, PF = Protection
Forest. FFI = Flora and Fauna International
Forest Patch Region Povey et al. 2009 This study (2011-2014)
Barito Ulu Central Kalimantan Detected 2003
Batu Beruk East Kalimantan Unknown
Bawan Central Kalimantan Not included Not detected
Belantikan Central Kalimantan Not included Not detected
Bukit Baka Bukit Raya NP Central and West
Kalimantan
Unknown
Bukit Soeharto East Kalimantan Unknown
FFI Area West Kalimantan Unknown
Gunung Palung NP West Kalimantan Detected 1996
Kelian PF East Kalimantan Unknown
Kutai NP East Kalimantan Not included Detected 2013
Lesan East Kalimantan Not included Not detected
Mungku Baru Central Kalimantan Not included Not detected
Murung Raya Central Kalimantan Not included Not detected
Sabangau Catchment Central Kalimantan Unknown Not detected
Sungai Wain PF East Kalimantan Detected 2005 Detected 2012
Tanjung Puting NP Central Kalimantan Detected ca. 1986
Wehea PF East Kalimantan Unknown Detected 2012 and 2013
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