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Carnivore Symposium paw
Clouded Leopard Conservation and Research in Borneo
Borneo Carnivore Symposium

Applicants: Andreas Wilting on behalf of Dr. Laurentius Ambu, Dr. Jerrold Belant, Dr. Christine Breittenmoser-Würster, and Dr. Jim Conroy


Borneo's forests harbors 25 species of carnivores across seven families, however, due to habitat destruction, persecution, and other conflicts, many are facing ecological problems. Eleven are currently listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and four are listed as endangered. Vital to conservation efforts is the need to understand more about these species and their ecologies. In order to synthesize effective strategies all existing information on these species must be compiled and made available to a wide audience. In addition to this, local regional conservationists must be found and trained in order to protect the Borneo's carnivores.

In order to accomplish these goals the Sabah Wildlife Department, the IUCN/SSC Cat, Small Carnivore, and Otter Specialist Groups, and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research organized the Borneo's first carnivore symposium. This six-day event focused on:
  • Compiling and synthesizing information on 24 out of Borneo's 25 species
  • Identifying priority sites and issues
  • Improving coordination between scientists, governments, and businesses in Borneo
  • Strengthening local research agencies, and
  • Dissemination of information to the scientific and lay populations


First, presence records were compiled from current and historical sightings and specimens. Next, environmental data such as climate, elevation, watersheds, etc. were combined with the presence records to synthesize probably distribution models for each species. The first three days of the symposium were dedicated to discussing these predictive models and adjusting them. Based on these models key locations and methodologies were identified and presented to invited scientists, governmental authorities, and stakeholders.

As a side benefit of bringing this number of researchers together, organizers hope that the symposium also allowed for a more free exchange of ideas, methodologies, and experiences between scientists. This should allow for a greater coordination of efforts and a larger list of contacts and assistance to be available to any one individual. This should also prove true for scientific-governmental relations as well.

Local biology and conservation students were also included in the symposium. Eight students were paired with professional researchers and prepared a review presentation and paper to provide a valuable training opportunity for range country conservationists.

Finally, now that the symposium is over, a final document summarizing all synthesized information and results will be published in special issues of the involved IUCN/SSC Specialist Group Journals, and the Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation, as well as distributed to the public media within six months of the symposium. Results will also be disseminated to all attendees.

Evaluation of the success of this symposium will be determined by monitoring new developments in carnivore conservation. The formation of effective strategies at the symposium is the most immediate sign, but success of information-dissemination and any change in the number of in-situ conservation and research projects will also be used to determine the effectiveness of this meeting.


Fundraising completed in December 2010, with manuscripts and reviews being collected in early 2011. The symposium took place from the 18th to the 24th of June 2011.

Appendix II - Recent media presence of Borneo’s carnivores

Hairy-nosed otter and other small carnivores
Online publications:

The Malaysian Insider

National Geographic

BBC Earth News 1

BBC Earth News 2

Photo: Endangered hairy-nosed otter (Lutra sumatrana) re-discovered in 2009 by a camera trap in Deramakot Forest Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia. By: Wilting, Mohamed, Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Forestry Department.
Flat-headed cat
Online publications:

BBC Earth News

National Geographic


Photo: Endangered flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) photographed by a camera trap in the Tangkulap Forest Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia. By: Wilting, Mohamed, Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Forestry Department
First video footage of clouded leopard, other cats
Online publications:

BBC Earth News

Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) photographed in 2008 by a camera trap in Deramakot Forest Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia. By: Wilting, Mohamed, Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Forestry Department.