Leopard Cat Ecology and Conservation
To study the ecology of leopard cats in Singapore
The leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is a small wild felid (60–90 cm head–body length, 28–37 cm tail length, 2–8 kg body weight) found throughout Asia. Though fairly widespread and common in other parts of Asia, it is poorly studied and little is known about it regionally. In Singapore, leopard cats are so rarely sighted that they were once thought to be locally extinct on the main island and likely to be on the brink of national extinction. It was last seen alive in the wild on mainland Singapore in 1968.
The species is now listed as being critically endangered in the Singapore Red Data Book. This is mainly due to alteration of its natural habitat on the main island. It is currently known to persist only on Pulau Tekong and Pulau Ubin, although road kills were recorded in the central and western catchment areas in 2001 and 2007. Leopard cats are protected by law in Singapore under the Wild Animals and Birds Act and listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The project will study various aspects of the ecology of leopard cats in Pulau Tekong and the possible population in the western catchment areas, including their population size, distribution, diet and genetic variation. Findings from this research could shed significant information on the biology of this threatened species and contribute greatly to conservation efforts of Singapore's last wild cat.
WAZA Conservation Project 11011 is implemented by Marcus Aik Hwee Chua from the National University of Singapore, with support provided by Wildlife Reserves Singapore and involvement of National Parks Board Singapore.
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