Borneon Leopard Cat

Borneon Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis borneoensis)

Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is widely distributed throughout Asia. It is occurs from Java, Borneo and Bali, north to southeastern Siberia and Manchuria, as far east as India, and westward to Korea and the Philippines. The subspecies found in Borneo is (Prionailurus bengalensis borneoensis).

In a study it has been observed that this cat prefers relatively open oil palm habitat over both selectively logged dipterocarp forest and secondary forest fragments. Visibility and ease of movement is also better in oil palm, thereby possibly increasing their hunting success. It is suggested that the significantly higher use of oil palm by leopard cats is related to their preference for areas with high prey ‘catchability’ rather than high prey density. Although secondary-forest fragments were least selected, they were important to the cat for resting and possibly breeding, highlighting the importance of forest fragments for the conservation of Bornean leopard cats in agricultural landscapes.

During the study ten leopard cats (P. b. borneoensis) were captured and radio tracked in an agricultural landscape in Sabah, Malaysia. Seventy-two scat specimens were also analyzed for diet. Information on prey distribution and abundance was obtained from a concurrent study on small mammals. It was found that mammals, namely murids, were the major prey with Whitehead’s rat (Maxomys whiteheadi) being the principal prey species. Although comparative murid abundance was highest in selectively logged dipterocarp forest, oil palm had a higher relative abundance of Whitehead’s rat.

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