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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

The Conservation Alliance

Rare Cat Sightings

Rare Cat Sightings

Bay Cat illustration, 1874 (credit: Wiki-commons)


The Bay Cat is a very rare feline known only from tropical forests on Borneo. The small cat is little understood, seldom seen, and declining even in pristine habitats. It is thought that less than 3000 individuals of the endemic felines exist on the Indonesian island. Illegal logging for palm oil plantations and timber exports continue to destroy its rainforest habitats. What makes a sighting especially exciting is that a camera trap observed a young cat on a stroll in a deforested landscape of second growth forest. The captured video of such a rare animal surviving in spite of declining habitat shows their utility. According to Imperial College of London wildlife researchers:

“Conservationists used to assume that very few wild animals can live in logged-over forests, but we now know this land can be home for many endangered species. Our study shows solid evidence that even large carnivores, such as these magnificent bay cats, can survive in commercially logged forests.”

Camera traps are essential wildlife observation tools. The are non-invasive, can survive long durations in harsh conditions, and allow 27-7 monitoring of an animal's movements and behavior. Along the shrubby borderlands of the US and Mexico border, the remote video cameras have been deployed to monitor the status of another endangered cat, the American ocelot. A Texas wildlife ecologist relates his personal story for a PBS-Nature special of the existing populations and the threats to the cat's survival. He hopes to develop plans to restore ocelots into other available habitats where they once occurred along the border.

The next steps for both endangered species will require trapping some of the surviving cats for captive breeding efforts. Future restoration projects would then be able to re-introduce the small cats back into safer and hopefully more protected habitats in Borneo and the United States. WHB

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