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The Impact of Habitat Disturbance on the Sunda Clouded Leopard paw
Clouded Leopard Conservation and Research in Borneo
The Impact of Habitat Disturbance on the Sunda Clouded Leopard in and Around Wehea Forest, East Kalimantan Borneo

Principal Investigator: Brent Loken, Integrated Conservation

Scientists working with Integrated Conservation have been carrying out research in the Wehea Forest of East Kalimantan, Borneo, in an effort to determine how various habitat types and disturbances impact clouded leopard activity. Using camera traps set across logging concession areas outside the forest (36 traps) and inside the primary forest (20 traps) to collect data beginning in early 2013, three objectives were set:
  1. To estimate clouded leopard density and activity in a recently logged forest
  2. To estimate clouded leopard density and activity in a mountainous primary forest
  3. To compare data sets with previous clouded leopard research in Wehea

A clouded leopard photographed in the remote areas of Wehea Forest
Camera trapping is set to continue until October 2014, but early results are indicating a higher abundance of clouded leopards in the primary forest areas, compared to recently logged forest.

The main goal of the project has been to protect the clouded leopards of Wehea Forest through research, as well as through sustainable development of the forest. This has seen the expansion of a small agro-forestry cooperative into a successful business, offering economic opportunities to people living in and around Wehea. Ecotourism is also being investigated as a potential income source, and economic opportunities are being developed through the research program as well.

High school students learning to set camera traps
Another piece of the overall conservation strategy in Wehea has been education. An environmental education center is being planned to help reconnect local people with the forest. This has already started, particularly with younger generations, learning about clouded leopard conservation and the overall biodiversity of Wehea.

Integrated Conservation (ICON) has also worked tirelessly in their target to promote the forest, and develop research opportunities on the national and international scale. Connections have been made with universities for research projects and with other protected regions in Borneo and Australia to allow Wehea Forest Guardians to learn from other, similar conservation schemes.

The Wehea Conservation Center complex

A major piece of the program in the forest, the Wehea Conservation Complex, is now complete and will be used to train researchers and conservationists in subjects such as computing, business management and research methods. All of this work continues to support the overall purpose of the project, to protect and manage critical habitat to sustain a clouded leopard population.