Candid Cameras Snap Wild Cats Off Guard

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(Sumatran tiger; Credit for all images: WWF-Indonesia/PHKA)

Individuals from five rare wild cat species were recently captured in photos by camera traps set up in a single forested area of Indonesia's Sumatra Island, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

The cats represent five of the seven different types of wild cats found on that portion of the island, which is an unprotected forest corridor between the Bukit Tigapuluh forest landscape and the Rimbang Baling Wildlife sanctuary in Riau Province.

The cats are all in danger due to human activities, such as logging.

The images show the following cats: the Sumatran tiger, Sunda clouded leopard, marble cat, Asian golden cat, and leopard cat.

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(Sumatran clouded leopard)

"Four of these species are protected by Indonesian Government regulations and are listed as threatened by extinction on the IUCN Red List," Karmila Parakkasi, Coordinator of the WWF-Indonesia Tiger Research Team, was quoted as saying in a press release.

"This underscores the rich biodiversity of the Bukit Tigapuluh landscape and the forest corridors that connect to it. These amazing cat photos also remind us of how much we could lose as more of these fragile forests are lost to logging, plantations and illegal encroachment."

The camera traps resulted in 404 photos of wild cats, including 226 of Sumatran tigers, 77 of Sunda clouded leopards, 70 of Asian golden cats, four of marbled cats, and 27 of leopard cats. Often conservationists use such numbers to estimate population sizes within a region.

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(Marbled cat)

"Unfortunately much of the natural forest area in the landscape is threatened by large scale clearance for industrial logging, pulp and paper, as well as illegal encroachment for palm oil plantation development," Aditya Bayunanda WWF-Indonesia's Coordinator for the Global Forest Trade Network Programme, was quoted as saying in the press release.

"The abundant evidence of these five wild cat species suggests that the concession licenses of companies operating in these areas, such as Barito Pacific, should be reviewed and adjusted according to Indonesian Ministry regulations, which state that concession areas with the presence of endangered species should be protected," he continued.

"WWF-Indonesia has also called on protection for areas bordering Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, either by expanding the park or managing it under the current forest ecosystem restoration scheme."

(Sumatran tiger)

Bukit Tigapuluh is presently designated a "global priority Tiger Conservation Landscape" and is one of six landscapes the government of Indonesia pledged to protect at last year's International Tiger Forum of world leaders in St. Petersburg, Russia.