Saturday, January 20, 2007

postheadericon Project Overview

Project Overview
Bornean tropical forest contains a guild of five felid species: clouded leopard, bay cat, flat-headed cat, marbled cat and leopard cat. One is endangered, three threatened, and their presumed primary habitat is rapidly being lost and/or altered in the region. The behavioural ecology of none is well-known, and the impact of forest destruction and management on each of these species is obscure. This project, based at Danum Valley, an area of protected primary lowland Dipterocarp rainforest within a 9730 km2 timber concession - The Ulu Segama-Malua Forest Reserve and Tabin Wildlife Reserve (TWR), a predominantly logged lowland Dipterocarp forest surrounded by oil palm plantations, both located in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo will provide base-line data regarding the behaviour and ecology of the five species of Bornean wild cat and their responses to selective logging, upon which informed conservation and management decisions can be based.

Additional aims are to provide conservation research training to host country scientists and students, by means of mammal field-research courses and the intensive training of a postgraduate from the Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ITBC) at the University of Malaysia, Sabah. We will increase awareness of the Bornean wild cats in Sabah by producing and disseminating wild cat-specific environmental education materials. Questionnaire surveys will be conducted throughout the communities surrounding the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, to assess the potential level of hunting/trade of the wild cats and their prey and to assess local people's knowledge, beliefs, attitudes and perceptions about conservation. Project findings will be used to provide recommendations for a Bornean wild cat conservation action plan, and presented at a Bornean wild cat conservation workshop at the end of the project.