Ever heard of a Hose's civet? How about a Borneo ferret badger or collared mongoose?? These are a few of the 24 carnivore species at the center of attention of this week's conference in Borneo. Yesterday, each species was profiled in terms of research history, distribution, and threats and the overwhelming outcome was that our knowledge of most of these creatures is abysmal.
One of the primary goals of the conference is to gather all existing and historical records on known locations of Borneo's carnivores into a single database that can then be used to create models predicting the distribution of each species. Prior to the conference, researchers completed questionnaires detailing locations of specimens from camera traps, actual sightings, road kills, etc. In addition, collection locations were amassed from specimens in natural history museums as well as from historical research publications. These data were then combined with maps of Borneo's climate, topography, and human activities and habitat alteration. The result is a Habitat Suitability Index map that serves as a very rough predictive model of where the species may occur which can drive further research and conservation planning.
Here's what the Sunda clouded leopard HSI looks like. The colors represent the probability that the species will occur in the area with dark red being the highest, the warm tones intermediate, and the blue tones being low probability.
I was very impressed by the technical expertise and determination required to collate all this information for each species. It was also amazing to hear the feedback from the researchers assembled as they relayed their experiences encountering (or not encountering!) these fascinating species that have so far mostly flown under the radar of wildlife conservation attention.
*The Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop) is now a programme of Borneo Nature Foundation.Please visit our new website and blog:* *http://www.borne...
9 months ago