Suspected Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) predation attempts on two reintroduced Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) in Bukit Batikap Protection Forest, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

Abstract

In February 2017 and August 2018, respectively, two Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) reintroduced into the Bukit Batikap Protection Forest in Central Kalimantan were found in weakened physical condition and with deep puncture wounds. The first individual was a sub-adult male, and the second an adult female whose 6- to 8-week-old infant was missing. Both individuals were rescued and transported back to the field base camp for treatment. Experienced veterinarians treating the injuries reported that the type of wounds appeared consistent with those expected from an attack by a large felid. The Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) is the largest felid known to inhabit Bukit Batikap Protection Forest, and we suspect that these cases were unsuccessful predatory attacks by this species. Given the severity of his condition when found, the male orangutan would probably have died without medical intervention; however, both orangutans fully recovered following intensive treatment and were successfully returned to the forest. Predation attempts on orangutans are infrequently reported, thus our observations add to the body of knowledge about possible predation by clouded leopards on reintroduced, rehabilitant orangutans.

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Acknowledgements

The BOS Foundation’s Central Kalimantan Orangutan Reintroduction Program is supported by partner organisations including BOS Australia, BOS Deutschland, BOS Schweiz, BOS UK and Save the Orangutan. We would like to express our sincere thanks to the following for supporting our work in Bukit Batikap during this study: Zoos Victoria and the Commonwealth of Australia through the Department of Environment and Energy; the US Fish and Wildlife Service Great Ape Conservation Fund; the Orangutan Project; the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation; and Orangutan Outreach. We thank the Indonesian Government, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the Directorate General of Natural Resources and Ecosystem Conservation Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Central Kalimantan’s Conservation of Natural Resources Agency (BKSDA), the Province of Central Kalimantan and the Regency of Murung Raya for their enthusiastic support, and our sincere appreciation to the people of Kecamatan Seribu Riam. We are indebted to the BOS Foundation field team for the many hours spent gathering post-release data in Batikap, and to Alizée Martin and Ahmat Suyoko. Finally, we are grateful to Susan Cheyne for providing comments on earlier versions of this manuscript, to Maria van Noordwijk for sharing unpublished observations and to two anonymous reviewers of this manuscript. The photographic images we present were taken by Anna Marzec, Pak Johanis and Andrea Knox.

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Correspondence to Jacqueline L. Sunderland-Groves.

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Sunderland-Groves, J.L., Tandang, M.V., Patispathika, F.H. et al. Suspected Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) predation attempts on two reintroduced Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) in Bukit Batikap Protection Forest, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Primates 62, 41–49 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-020-00842-1

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Keywords

  • Bornean orangutan
  • Sunda clouded leopard
  • Predation
  • Reintroduction