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Title: Assessing the influence of anthropogenic disturbance on sympatric felids on Borneo with special reference to the Sunda clouded leopard
Author: Hearn, Andrew James
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 6024
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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For decades, Borneo's once extensive and pristine forests have been increasingly exposed to a suite of anthropogenic disturbance and deforestation processes as a result of selective and illegal logging, hunting, droughts, fires and the conversion to plantations, chiefly oil palm. Such disturbance is likely impacting the Sunda clouded leopard, Neofelis diardi, and other threatened, sympatric Bornean felids, yet few studies have attempted to address these issues. In this thesis, I used data from intensive camera trap surveys throughout Sabah, Malaysian Borneo and high-resolution GPS data from tagged Sunda clouded leopards to examine the influence of forest disturbance on the abundance, distribution, movements and population connectivity of Sunda clouded leopards and other sympatric felids on Borneo, and to provide some of the first data regarding the ecological interactions and patterns of coexistence among this felid assemblage. I showed that Sunda clouded leopard movement was facilitated by forest cover with high canopy closure, and highly resisted by oil palm plantations with low canopy closure. Models of population connectivity across Sabah identified a number of isolated populations of these felids, which may be particularly threatened with extinction. Analysis of camera trap detection data revealed that the Bornean felids exhibit evidence of resource segregation along the temporal, spatial and prey niche axes, and showed that Sunda clouded leopards, bay cats, Catopuma badia, and marbled cats, Pardofelis marmorata exhibited broad scale avoidance of disturbed habitats but varied in their selection of optimal foraging habitat at fine scales. Conversely, leopard cats, Prionailurus bengalensis, were associated with forest disturbance and likely benefit from such changes. I developed some of the first estimates of population density for Sunda clouded leopards and the first such data for marbled cats. The results are discussed in the context of the conservation of these felids on Borneo.
Supervisor: Macdonald, David ; Hunter, Luke Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: niche separation ; Sunda clouded leopard ; Borneo ; population conectivity ; population density