Veterinary Involvement in the Bornean Wild Cats and Clouded Leopard Project
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2010

Fernando Nájera1,2, LV, MSc; Andrew Hearn2,3,4, BSc, MSc; Joanna Ross2,3,4, BSc, MSc; Sally Nofs5, DVM

1Veterinary College, University Complutense of Madrid, Madrid, Spain; 2The Bornean Wild Cats and Clouded Leopard Project; 3Global Canopy Programme, John Krebs Field Station, Wytham, Oxford, UK; 4Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, the Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Tubney House, Tubney, Recanati, UK; 5Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Nashville, TN, USA

Read the Spanish translation: Participación Veterinaria en el Proyecto de los Felinos Silvestres de Borneo y la Pantera Nebulosa


In 2006, the Bornean Wild Cats and Clouded Leopard Project was established in order to provide accurate data on the Bornean wild cats’ ecology and biology, and to assist with the conservation management of these species. Borneo’s rainforests support five species of wild felids: Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi), marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata), bay cat (Pardofelis badia), flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps), and leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis). The Sunda clouded leopard and the marbled cat are considered vulnerable by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).2 The bay cat and the flat-headed cat are considered endangered. Only the leopard cat is not considered threatened. One of the main threats of the Bornean felines is loss of habitat as a result of deforestation and forest conversion for agricultural use such as oil palm plantations.3 At present only 52% of the island’s rainforest remains untouched.5 While the four threatened felids do not inhabit oil palm plantations, the leopard cat is known to use this habitat.1,4 Other potential threats to the Bornean felines include illegal hunting of the cats and their prey, and diseases transmitted from feral cats and dogs. The veterinary role in this project includes the safe chemical immobilization of the wild cats, data collection on the hematology and biochemistry of the different species, the development of safer immobilization protocols, and documentation of health parameters of the wild cats.


The author would like to thank Andrew Hearn and Jo Ross for the extensive amount of research data they provided and for all the help and support.

Literature Cited

1.  Hearn A.J., J. Ross and H. Bernard. 2009. The Bornean wild cats & clouded leopard project: initial findings from three years of field work. First steps towards the conservation of wild cats in Sabah. Report of the Inaugural International Workshop on the Bornean Wild Cats. Penampang, Sabah, Malaysia, 14.

2.  IUCN. 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. Accessed on 10 March 2010.

3.  Nowell, K., and P. Jackson. 1996. Wild Cats: Status Survey and Conservation Plan. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland, 382.

4.  Rajaratnam, R., M. Sunquist, L. Rajaratnam, and L. Ambu. 2007. Diet and habitat selection of the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis borneoensis) in an agricultural landscape in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Journal of Tropical Ecology. 23(2):209–217.

5.  Rautner, M., M. Hardiono, and R. J. Alfred. 2005. Borneo: treasure island at risk. Status of forest, wildlife and related threats on the island of Borneo. WWF Germany.


Speaker Information
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Fernando Nájera, LV, MSc
Veterinary College
University Complutense of Madrid
Madrid, Spain

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