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Bay Cat - Pardofelis badia
Topic Started: Apr 16 2012, 03:40 PM (3,980 Views)
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Bay Cat - Pardofelis badia

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Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Pardofelis
Species: Pardofelis badia

Synonyms: Catopuma badia

The bay cat (Pardofelis badia), also known as the Bornean cat, Bornean bay cat, or Bornean marbled cat, is a wild cat endemic to the island of Borneo that appears relatively rare compared to sympatric felids, based on the paucity of historical as well as recent records. In 2002, the IUCN classified the forest-dependent species as endangered because of a projected population decline by more than 20% by 2020 due to habitat loss. As of 2007, the effective population size was suspected to be below 2,500 mature individuals.

Bay cats have historically been recorded as rare and today seem to occur at relatively low density, even in pristine habitat.

The bay cat is much smaller than the Asian golden cat. Its fur is of a bright chestnut-colour, rather paler beneath, the limbs and the tail being rather paler and redder. The tail is elongate, tapering at the end, with a white central streak occupying the hinder half of the lower side, gradually becoming wider and of a purer white towards the tip, which has a small black spot at its upper end. The ears are rounded, covered with a short blackish-brown fur at the outer side, paler brown within and with a narrow brown margin.

In the years between 1874 to 2004, only 12 specimens were measured. Their head-to-body length varied from 49.5–67 cm (19.5–26 in) with 30–40.3 cm (12–15.9 in) long tails. It is estimated to have an adult weight of 3–4 kg (6.6–8.8 lb), but too few living specimens have been obtained to allow a more reliable estimate.

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The short, rounded head is dark greyish brown with two dark stripes originating from the corner of each eye, and the back of the head has a dark ‘M’ shaped marking. The backs of the ears are dark greyish, lacking the central white spots found on many other cat species. The underside of the chin is white and there are two faint brown stripes on the cheeks. Body proportions and the extremely long tail give it the look of the new world jaguarundi.

Distribution and habitat
Bay cats are endemic to Borneo and widely distributed on the island. But there are two concentrations of reports in the island's interior. The information suggests that they occur over a wide range of habitat types, varying from swamp forests, lowland dipterocarp forest to hill forests up to at least 500 m (1,600 ft). In the mid 1990s, the most reliable sightings have been reported from the upper Kapuas River in West Kalimantan, and in the Gunung Palung National Park. One unconfirmed sighting occurred at 1,800 m (5,900 ft) on Mount Kinabalu.

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Blue dots indicate bay cat records from 2003 to 2005.

They inhabit dense tropical forests, and have been observed in rocky limestone outcrops and in logged forest, and some close to the coast. At least three specimens were found near rivers, but this is probably due to collector convenience rather than evidence of habitat preference. From 2003 to 2005, 15 bay cats were recorded in Kalimantan, Sabah and Sarawak but not in Brunei. These records consist of single opportunistic observations. Almost all the historical and recent records are from close proximity to water bodies such as rivers and mangroves, suggesting that the bay cat may be closely associated with such habitat.

A Camera trapping survey from July 2008 to January 2009 in the northwestern part of Sabah's Deramakot Forest Reserve in an area of about 112 km2 (43 sq mi) yielded one photo of a male bay cat in a total sampling effort of 1916 trap nights. This record expands the range of bay cats to the north.

Alfred Russel Wallace sent the first skin and skull of a bay cat from Sarawak to the British Museum of Natural History in 1855. A total of seven skins surfaced over the following decades, but not until 1992 was a living specimen trapped on the Sarawak – Indonesian border and brought to the Sarawak Museum, on the verge of death.

Ecology and behavior
The secretive and nocturnal behavior of bay cats, and possibly their low population density, may be an important cause of the rarity of sightings.

Camera trapping surveys during 2003–2006 yielded only one photo of a bay cat in 5,034 trap nights. According to unconfirmed anecdotal records from Sarawak, a bay cat was observed on a branch 1 m (3.3 ft) from the ground close to the river during a night hunting expedition. A local animal collector near Lachau, Sarawak, claimed that he accidentally trapped two bay cats on separate occasions in December 2003. He reported that the bay cats entered his aviary and attacked his pheasants. One cat died in captivity, and the other was released.

Nothing is known about their feeding ecology and reproductive behavior.

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Satellite photo of Borneo showing smoke from burning peat swamp forests
Bay cats are forest-dependent, and are increasingly threatened by habitat destruction following deforestation in Borneo.

Borneo has one of the world's highest deforestation rates. While in the mid-1980s forests still covered nearly three quarters of the island, by 2005 only 52% of Borneo was still forested. Both forests and land make way for human settlement. Illegal trade in wildlife is a widely spread practice.

Although Borneo has 25 wildlife reserves, only three are actually in existence, with the others only proposed. All of these reserves have been encroached upon by human settlement and logging. Unfortunately local trappers and animal dealers are also well aware that foreign zoos and breeding facilities will pay US $10,000 or more for a live animal.

Pardofelis badia is listed on CITES Appendix II as Catopuma badia. It is fully protected by national legislation across most of its range. Hunting and trade are prohibited in Kalimantan, Sabah and Sarawak.

There are no bay cats in captivity.

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Taxonomy and evolution
In 1874, John Edward Gray first described a bay cat under the binominal Felis badia on the basis of a skin and skull collected in Sarawak in 1856. This cat was first thought to be a kitten of an Asian golden cat. In 1932, Reginald Innes Pocock placed the species in the monotypic genus Badiofelis. In 1978, it was placed in the genus Catopuma.

Tissue and blood samples were acquired only in late 1992 from the female brought to the Sarawak Museum. Morphological and genetic analysis confirmed the close relationship with the Asian golden cat, and that the two species had been separated from a common ancestor for 4.9 to 5.3 million years, long before the geological separation of Borneo from mainland Asia.

The bay cat's classification as Catopuma was widely recognized until 2006. Because of the evident close relationship of the bay cat and the Asian golden cat with the marbled cat, it was suggested in 2006 that all three species should be grouped in the genus Pardofelis.
Edited by Taipan, Apr 16 2012, 03:40 PM.
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Spotted: Rare Cat Species Captured on Camera in Borneo

By Douglas Main, Staff Writer | November 04, 2013 05:00pm ET

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The bay cat, or Bornean marble cat, has only been recorded on video a handful of times before and was only first photographed in 2003.

Several rare and endangered bay cats were spotted on camera in a heavily logged section of rainforest in Borneo, where scientists didn't expect to find them, a group of researchers announced today (Nov. 4).

The bay cat, or Bornean marbled cat, has only been recorded on video a handful of times before and was only first photographed in 2003, according to a release from the Zoological Society of London and Imperial College London, whose scientists set up the cameras.

In the same area where the bay cats were found, in the northern Borneo, cameras also captured four other cat species, making it one of only four spots where all of these species have been recorded. The four other cat species were the Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi), leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) and marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata). Three out of four of these species are considered vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

"We were completely surprised to see so many bay cats at these sites in Borneo where natural forests have been so heavily logged for the timber trade," said Robert Ewers, an Imperial College London researcher, in the statement.

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Scientists estimate there are fewer than 2,500 adult bay cats remaining in the wild.Pin It Scientists estimate there are fewer than 2,500 adult bay cats remaining in the wild.

Very little is known about Borneo bay cats because they are shy and have low population densities, according to the IUCN. However, scientists estimate there are fewer than 2,500 adults remaining in the wild, and that their population will decline by 20 percent in the next 12 years due to deforestation in Borneo, the IUCN reported.

Unlike other camera traps that are often set up at strategic locations, these were placed at random locations, which apparently helped to spot the endangered cats.

"We discovered that randomly placed cameras have a big influence on the species recorded," said Oliver Wearn, a researcher at the Zoological Society of London. "This is something I was taught in school — I remember doing a project on which plant species were most abundant on our playing field, and being taught to fling quadrats [a geometric tool used to define a study area] over my shoulder in a random direction before seeing what plants lay within it, rather than placing it somewhere that looked like a good place to put it — the same principle applies here."

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Rare Borneo Bay Cat Captured in Stunning Photo

By Tia Ghose, Staff Writer | January 22, 2014 12:09pm ET

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An elusive bay cat was recently caught on camera in Borneo

An extremely elusive creature called a bay cat has been photographed in stunning detail in its native Borneo in Southeast Asia.

The new image, which was captured by a photographer working with the wildcat conservation organization Panthera, is one of the first high-resolution images taken of the enigmatic species. Previously, grainy camera-trap images were the main evidence of the cat's existence.

The bay cat, or Pardofelis badia, is a mysterious little wildcat that lives only on the island of Borneo, which includes the countries of Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. The diminutive hunters are smaller than the average house cat and have either ruddy chestnut or grayish coats. Their nocturnal nature and secretive demeanors, combined with a low population density, make sightings of the cats incredibly rare. Almost nothing is known about what they eat or how they reproduce.

Logging has threatened some of these cats' tropical forest habitats, and the creature is now listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In the past, the elusive cats were only documented in poor-resolution camera-trap images first captured in 1998. In November 2013, another research team captured several camera-trap images of the cats, along with Sunda clouded leopards and marbled cats.

To find out more about the species, photographer Sebastian Kennerknecht and Andrew Hearn, a researcher at Oxford University's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, went out into the rainforests of Borneo on the hunt for the bay cat. The team took two trips but managed to get just one photo of the cat.

"During the first trip, we were able to get pictures of a marbled cat and Sunda clouded leopards, but the bay cat proved elusive," Kennerknecht said in an email. "Only on the second trip did we get this single picture. It is of a grey phased male that Andrew has gotten on camera before."

To find the cat, the team chose spots to place customized digital SLR camera traps where Hearn had sighted bay cats before, Kennerknecht said. The cameras shoot when an animal crosses an infrared sensor.

The image was captured in the unlogged lowland rainforests of Malaysian Borneo.

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New population of rare cat species discovered
Researchers working in Borneo have found a new population of a secretive wild cat.

28th April 2017 Megan Shersby Share

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Scientists carrying out wildlife surveys in the Rungan Landscape in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, have captured footage of a bay cat.

This camera trap video was recorded 64 km south-east of the species' known distribution range.

Watch the footage of the bay cat:

Video footage of the first bay cat seen in the area © Borneo Nature Foundation

“Wild cats can be some of the most difficult species to study in the wild,” said Dr Susan Cheyne, lead author and co-director of Borneo Nature Foundation.

“They are secretive, solitary and highly camouflaged. But, our knowledge and understanding of the secretive wild cats of Borneo is improving thanks to technology, like camera traps.”

Researchers from Borneo Nature Foundation have been working in collaboration with scientists from Muhammadiyah Universitas Palangka Raya (Indonesia) and the University of Exeter (UK) to carry out wildlife surveys, including the use of 52 camera traps in the forest.

The scientists have not released the exact location of the species, as the forest is not currently protected.

The bay cat is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, and is threatened with habitat loss and hunting across Borneo.

“The bay cat is a protected species in Indonesia,” said Siti Maimunah, head of forestry at the Universitas Muhammadiyah and publication co-author. “Therefore if we are going to protect this species, we also need to protect its forest home.

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