Bearcat Study Program in Palawan Island
According to the IUCN, the binturong conservation status is VULNERABLE. Over the past 18 years, its population has decreased by at least 30%. It is indeed strongly hit by deforestation, and also illegal trafficking and poaching. South Asia experiences a fast development, stimulated by a strong economic growth that may be detrimental to the natural environment. Palm oil, rubber tree and teak plantations lead to a massive deforestation, compelling species living on forest resources to get closer to men. This cohabitation is generally difficult, and most often at the animal’s expense.
Moreover, until now, very little research has been undertaken on the bearcat. Most of today available data on the bearcat has been collected from captive animals whose behavior differs from the behaviour of the ones that may be observed in the wild. Thus, we do lack knowledge on bearcat behaviour in the wild, especially regarding reproduction, raising the youth, interactions between individuals, food habits, moving patterns… Without this knowledge, we cannot develop correctly a conservation program adapted to the ecology and biology needs of the bearcat.
The bearcat of Palawan is an endemic species. It’s the only island in the Philippines where we can observe it. The binturong of Palawan is considered as a subspecies which is very different from other populations of South-East Asia. This subspecies is only found in Palawan. As a consequence, if the binturong disappears of this island, this subspecies will disappear too.
The Bearcat Study Program is a conservation program with the aims to improve the knowledges on the bearcat in various areas (reproduction, raising the youth, interactions between individuals, food habits), to update its UICN status in case of need using the data collected from the field, and to sensitize (by sharing the collected data) the Island residents with the collaboration of the local authorities.
- Understanding a species, it’s to protect it too -
Abstract of the first stage: February to September 2018
Scientific part: improving the knowledge on the bearcat with camera trapping
- October 2016: tree-climbing training in France. Regular training in Asia from December 2016 to February 2017 (the beginning of the study).
- From December 2016 to February 2017: meeting with potentional partnerships, meeting with chiefs and captains of the barangays with the aim of obtaining the research permit.
- March 2017: Obtention of the research permit, and signature of an agreement with City ENRO (City Environment & Natural Resources Office), City Government of Puerto Princesa and PCSD (Palawan Council For Sustainable Development).
- From January to February 2017: first scouting trip to identify places suitable as study sites.
- February 2017: Set up camera traps on the ground and tree tops (between 10 and 30 meters high) in the barangay of Langogan.
- From February to December 2017: replacement of the memory cards and the batteries by two local guides employed by ABConservation.
- From April 2017 to February 2018: Transfer of data on the hardware disk by two volunteers of Langogan.
- June and December 2017, and February 2018: Changement of place of 9 cameras, and set up of 10 more cameras. Collecting and processing data. Processing data by the scientific officer Dr Agathe Debruille.
|September 2017: First pictures of the wild bearcat takes by camera-traps|
- December 2017: Conference for the students during the Youth Environmental Forum at the Western University (WPU), “Endangered Species”.
- February 2018: Recruitment of a volunteer scientific assistant From February to July 4th, 2018. She analyses the data collected on the field and organises educational intervention.
- March 2018 : Conference for the student during the extension and research forum at the WPU, « Three different methods to monitors mammals : Bearcat Study Program»
- April 2018: Test of the radio collar prototype on the captive binturong at the Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (PWRCC).
- May 2018: Organisation of the celebration of the binturong day at the barangay Langogan and the capital of Palawan, Puerto Princesa City. Exhibition on the binturong at Langogan from May to June 30th, then July 1st to September 30th 2018 at the au Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Centre (PWRCC).
The cameras shall remain until December 2018, then will be moved on a new site at Palawan Island.
Second stage: From February 2018 to December 2019
Scientific part: improving the knowledge on the bearcat with radiotracking
Radio tracking timeline provisional of 2018-2019
Before starting the study on the field
- September 2017 – February 2018: Manufacturing of one radio collar prototype by the Australian firm Wildspy
- April 2018: Test of the radio collars on the captive bearcat in its enclosure from PWRCC (Palawan Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center)
- May 2018: The prototype is return by post at Wildspy to build three new collar with the good size between 25-30 cm.
- August 2018: Send by post from Wildspy three radio collar in France
- 26 September 2018: Departure from France of the scientific officer Dr Agathe Debruille for a duration of 1 year minimum.
- September – November 2018: Rainy season
On the field in the Langogan Barangay, Palawan Island
- December 2018: capture of wild binturongs by means of cage-traps with live baits
- Marking of the wild animals captured (census)
- Gather hair samples for future genetic surveys (made by Doctor Géraldine Veron, at the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, France)
- Taking body measurements (height and weight)
- Equipping of binturongs with a radio-collar before their release
- From January 2019: radio-tracking of binturongs with the help of three local guides and 2 Filipino students
- Collect of data by GPS and VHF
- 2019-2020: treatment of data by the scientific officer
Educational part: to share knowledge about the bearcat 2018-2019
The goal is to promote the bearcat, to share our knowledge about it, and to explain why is important to protect it through different educational activities.
Keep doing conferences with the students, and educational interventions with the inhabitants of Langogan and Puerto Princesa City.
OUR PARTNERS ON THE
BEARCAT STUDY PROGRAM
If you are a company and that you want more information about our conservation projects in order to help us financially, ask us for the sponsorship file by email (firstname.lastname@example.org)