project news

Wild Creatures Caught on Camera

News item submitted by Flora O Brien
News item dated 2 Sep 2010

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The Frontier Cambodia Forest team have been gathering a growing database of biodiversity in the study area. Earlier this year, they found evidence of several endangered mammals in the Tonle Sap area, including the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), the hairy nosed otter (Lutra Sumatra) and smooth coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata). Threatened by habitat loss and hunting, it is important that these rare species are protected from persecution which may cause further population declines. They also found traces of the more common leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) and several civet species. This research will not only create a better understanding of what species are present in the region, but also help determine the ecology of these species, measuring their tolerance of human disturbance. 

As many of these animals are shy, elusive and nocturnal, sightings are rare, so the volunteers relied on two methods: searching for traces of the animals (tracks and faecal remains) along transects and camera trapping. In the previous months, a hairy nosed otter was photographed by the camera trap having a snooze on the river bank on multiple occasions!

Over the last weeks, the project moved to a different location in the Kampong Leng area. Sadly, due to the high levels of poaching and hunting in the area, the abundance of fauna found was relatively low. Nevertheless, there were reports of leopard cats, monkeys, butterflies, birds and several herpetofaunal species; and local community forest groups are now eager to enforce anti-poaching regimes. Over the next months, the team hope to find out more about the biodiversity present in the region. Importantly, the work carried out by Frontier is also helping to raise awareness of the importance of protecting these unique species.

Flora O’Brien

 

Read more about our Cambodia Tropical Wildlife Conservation Project