Thursday, July 17, 2008

postheadericon Project Update July '08

Camera trapping
Most of July has been spent mapping and assessing the new survey area – Malua Forest Reserve. It seems feasible that an area of at least 80 km2 can be effectively surveyed with paired camera traps. From initial surveys here looking for scat and prints it seems that there are several different carnivore species present and also elephant and banteng. A single leopard cat was also sighted here. At the beginning of July the cameras from around Borneo Rainforest Lodge were brought in and we found that we have finally been successful in obtaining a photo-capture of a clouded leopard from one of these sites. The individual photo-trapped is a juvenile who had been sighted on one of the trails a few days before the photo. This brings our total number of individual clouded leopards from the Conservation Area to three and unfortunately with such a low hit rate and re-captures of only one animal we will not be able to quantify these data. We also have recorded marbled cat and have several more bay cat photos from this area of primary forest, but again sample sizes are too small to quantify the data. The new chips in the cameras that allow a higher sensitivity setting are proving very useful, we are capturing more small mammals and small birds, compared to the cameras with the old chips.

Radio tracking
We continue to obtain useful data on the collared leopard cats and our knowledge about their ranges continues to increase. The female remains more difficult to track than the males, but we are managing to get useful data on all the leopard cats. Daniel has been co-ordinating the field work whilst Andy and I have been in the UK and has been sending regular updates with details of radio tracking, however the data will not be fully analysed until our return to Sabah.