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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Thailand Small Carnivore and Clouded Leopard Workshop

The Clouded Leopard Project was pleased to sponsor an international workshop on the small carnivores of Thailand, November, 24-27, 2009 at Kasetsart University, Bangkok.

This meeting was a direct offshoot of the CLP-organized Clouded Leopard and Small Felid Summit held in Bangkok in January 2009. At that time, a group of researchers became interested in an analysis of the data that had been gathered from photo-trapping in Thailand, for (1) understanding the current status and distribution of small carnivores, (2) for exploring the possibility of improving and standardizing ecological survey methods across Thailand, (3) in prioritizing research needs within Thailand, and (4) integrating conservation efforts within Thailand with efforts in neighboring Laos and Myanmar.

According to one of the workshop organizers, Dr. David Reed Associate Professor, University of Louisville Louisville, KY, the meeting was even more successful than expected. There were some excellent discussions and the data set was quite impressive. Participants are currently working on papers to be published in the near future concerning what was learned about the status and distribution of all the mammalian carnivore species.

Based on the data, detailed habitat models are being constructed for dhole; clouded leopard, leopard, and tiger; and for numerous other small carnivores. The clouded leopard, leopard, and tiger are being modeled together. Preliminary analysis suggested very strongly that clouded leopard and tiger are found almost exclusively together and that leopard densities are strongly negatively correlated with tiger densities. Thus, researchers hypothesize that tigers deter leopards and that leopards depress clouded leopard densities, so that the presence of tigers and clouded leopards are strongly positively associated with each other. To fully document this, the species are being modeled together and researchers hope to tease apart whether the correlation is due to direct interaction between the species or if it is partly due to leopards having a preference for different habitat types.

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