November 6th, 2013 by Jake Richardson
These cats are so rare they were once believed to possibly be extinct. Recently researchers caught them on video using camera traps, proving they do still exist in the wild, though their numbers are very low.
“We discovered that randomly placed cameras have a big influence on the species recorded,” said Dr. The cameras record multiple sightings, sometimes of species which we might be very lucky to see even after spending years in an area. For example, I’ve seen the clouded leopard just twice in three years of fieldwork, whilst my cameras recorded 14 video sequences of this enigmatic cat in just eight months,” explained one of the researchers, Dr. Oliver Wearn. (Source: UPI)
In their research paper, they said less than 6% of land in Malaysia and Borneo is protected. The camera traps actually recorded the images in land that had been commercially logged, meaning that ithad been destroyed to some degree. Though it may seem hopeful that a very small number of the cats were documented there, it should be considered also that many may have been run off or killed by the logging.
The study was conducted in the Kalabakan Forest Reserve, but this area has been logged for decades, though the name might imply the land would be protected. If the forests are not protected, it would be very difficult to protect the native wildlife, and it appears there has no consideration for them.
There may be 2500 bay cats remaining in the wild, with a 20% decrease in the next 12 years, due to human activities, such as the logging of forests.
Destruction of forests and wild lands has been rampant in some parts of Borneo. Palm oil production has been a main driver of this destruction, and we as consumers can do our best to avoid buying products made with palm oil. Reading product labels might seem like a tedious chore, at times, but doing so can help save wild animals and natural habitat for them.
Many wild cats around the world are in jeopardy because of destruction of their habitat.
Image Credit: Jim Sanderson
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