Research & Conservation -
Cats, Bears & Other Carnivorous Mammals
in Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Tabin, like the rest of Borneo, lacks large mammalian carnivores such as tigers and wolves. This has created a situation in which smaller carnivores have proliferated. The largest Bornean cat is the clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa diardi). Little research has been done on this species but plans are in process for projects that will involve UMS and JHL researchers in a program that will determine seasonal ranging patterns, feeding habits, the use of habitat types and habitat components using radio-tracking of a small sample of representative individuals. There are plans to do this not only with the clouded leopard but also to do it with sun bear, tembadau, and orangutan.

Smaller feline predators in Tabin include the spotted cat and the leopard cat; both of which are about the size of large domestic cats. These are commonly seen on night safaris. The same applies to the civet family (e.g. binturong, below right, JHL photo). A preliminary study of the ecology of cats and civets was done by R. Rajanathan of WWFM during 1993 1995. A study of the ecology of other small mammals was done by L. Rajanathan at the same time.

These Studies indicate substantial potential for fruitful studies of this unusual ecosystem where there is great biodiversity but a lack of large carnivores. Besides studying cats and civets it would be interesting to investigate the role of mustelids. A Japanese group studied sun bears in Tabin and these animals also provide an interesting subject for study. They are endangered through much of their range and are sought by hunters for their gall bladders, which are used as medicine. Tabin provides an opportunity to study them in nature.

A Japanese group studied sun bears in Tabin and these animals also provide an interesting subject for study. They are endangered through much of their range and are sought after by hunters seeking their gall bladders for use as medicine. Tabin provides an opportunity to study them in nature.

One issue of continuing concern is the eradication of feral dogs and cats that escape domestic confinement. These species can devastate indigenous ecosystems but they seem to be under control in Tabin.