Scientists have caught on camera the extremely rare bay cat, found only in the forests of Borneo – and it’s the first time it’s been seen in this particular part of the island.
The researchers from U.K. and Indonesia set up a network of 52 camera traps to study a particular area of forest in the central part of the country.
They were surprised when they saw the bay cat on the footage after almost a month of filming.
“Wild cats can be some of the most difficult species to study in the wild,” said Dr Susan Cheyne, co-director of the Borneo Nature Foundation. “They are secretive, solitary and highly camouflaged. But, our knowledge and understanding of the secretive wild cats of Borneo is improving thanks to technology like camera traps.”
The bay cat is on the endangered species list and is one of the least known wild cats in the world. They have chestnut-colored fur and a white streak on the underside of their tail. There are an estimated 2,200 living in the forests of Borneo, but they are under threat due to logging and hunting.
The male cat in the video was seen about 40 miles away from the nearest area where the species was known to live.
“The type of tropical forest where we carried out our research is generally considered to be of relatively poor conservation value,” said Dr Frank Van Veen of the University of Exeter in a statement.
“The discovery of the bay cat here illustrates that we cannot just make assumptions about the conservation value of remaining areas of rainforest, and that research on the ground is essential for the well-informed conservation.”