Sunda clouded leopard Neofelis diardi densities and human activities in the humid evergreen rainforests of Sumatra
Haidir I., Macdonald DW., Linkie M.
Copyright © Fauna & Flora International 2020. Most species of wild felids are threatened, but for many little is known about their status in the wild. For the cryptic and elusive Vulnerable Sunda clouded leopard Neofelis diardi, key metrics such as abundance and occupancy have been challenging to obtain. We conducted an intensive survey for this species on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. We deployed camera traps across four study areas that varied in elevation and threats, for a total of 28,404 trap nights, resulting in 114 independent clouded leopard photographs, in which we identified 18 individuals. Using a Bayesian spatially explicit capture-recapture analysis, we estimated clouded leopard density to be 0.8-2.4 individuals/100 km2. The highest predicted occurrence of people was at lower altitudes and closer to the forest edge, where we categorized more than two-thirds of people recorded by camera traps as bird poachers, 12.5% each as ungulate/tiger poachers and non-timber collectors, and < 2% as fishers. Our findings provide important insights into the status of this little known species in Sumatra. We recommend that the large volume of camera-trap data from other Sumatran landscapes be used for an island-wide assessment of the clouded leopard population, to provide up-to-date and reliable information for guiding future conservation planning.