Published on: Monday, September 23, 2013
Kota Kinabatangan: The first satellite collaring of a wild Sunda clouded leopard here will see a better protection plan being drawn up for the animal in future, said Sabah Wildlife Department Director Datuk Dr Laurentius Ambu.
He said the data collected from the long-term research of the feline would assist in setting up a State Action plan for the species.
"By better understanding the clouded leopard ecology and habitat, we will be able to unlock some of Sabah's closely guarded secrets about their behavior and how habitat loss and fragmentation have impacted Sabah's biggest wild cat," he said in a statement.
The leopard was fitted with the satellite collar via the collaborative efforts of the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD), WildCRU and the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC).
The project focused on research and conservation of the Sunda clouded leopard and other carnivores in Sabah.
The project was possible due to the Sime Darby Foundation, along with additional support from the Atlanta Zoo, Houston Zoo, Recanati-kaplan Foundation, Robertson Foundation, Point Defiance Zoo and Rufford Foundation.
WildCRU official Andrew Hearn said the rare male Sunda clouded leopard weighing 25kg was captured early Sept 15.
"Sunda clouded leopards are amongst some of the most elusive and secretive of the world's wild cats, and as such, remains one of the least understood," he said.
He has been studying the feline in Sabah for over 7 years.
The collaring of the leopard would provide information on the feline's movement inside the Kinabatangan.
The collar would be able to provide the leopard's location every 20 minutes in the next four to six months, enabling researchers to determine the animal's home range and its movement through the fragmented landscapes, added Hearn.
Meanwhile, Director of DGFC Dr Benoit Goossens said the collaring of this male leopard is aimed to study of the spatial ecology and habitat associations of the Sunda clouded leopard and other sympatric carnivores.
He said the research would not have been carried out if weren't for the donation made by the Sime Darby Foundation worth RM1.46 million, as part of their Big 9 scheme.
Goossens said the collaring will provide a better understanding of the needs of the Sunda clouded leopard and could assist in the forming a better conservation policy in the State.