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1.  Coming down from the trees: Is terrestrial activity in Bornean orangutans natural or disturbance driven? 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:4024.
The orangutan is the world's largest arboreal mammal, and images of the red ape moving through the tropical forest canopy symbolise its typical arboreal behaviour. Records of terrestrial behaviour are scarce and often associated with habitat disturbance. We conducted a large-scale species-level analysis of ground-based camera-trapping data to evaluate the extent to which Bornean orangutans Pongo pygmaeus come down from the trees to travel terrestrially, and whether they are indeed forced to the ground primarily by anthropogenic forest disturbances. Although the degree of forest disturbance and canopy gap size influenced terrestriality, orangutans were recorded on the ground as frequently in heavily degraded habitats as in primary forests. Furthermore, all age-sex classes were recorded on the ground (flanged males more often). This suggests that terrestrial locomotion is part of the Bornean orangutan's natural behavioural repertoire to a much greater extent than previously thought, and is only modified by habitat disturbance. The capacity of orangutans to come down from the trees may increase their ability to cope with at least smaller-scale forest fragmentation, and to cross moderately open spaces in mosaic landscapes, although the extent of this versatility remains to be investigated.
doi:10.1038/srep04024
PMCID: PMC3923384  PMID: 24526001
2.  Assessing the Status of Wild Felids in a Highly-Disturbed Commercial Forest Reserve in Borneo and the Implications for Camera Trap Survey Design 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e77598.
The proliferation of camera-trapping studies has led to a spate of extensions in the known distributions of many wild cat species, not least in Borneo. However, we still do not have a clear picture of the spatial patterns of felid abundance in Southeast Asia, particularly with respect to the large areas of highly-disturbed habitat. An important obstacle to increasing the usefulness of camera trap data is the widespread practice of setting cameras at non-random locations. Non-random deployment interacts with non-random space-use by animals, causing biases in our inferences about relative abundance from detection frequencies alone. This may be a particular problem if surveys do not adequately sample the full range of habitat features present in a study region. Using camera-trapping records and incidental sightings from the Kalabakan Forest Reserve, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, we aimed to assess the relative abundance of felid species in highly-disturbed forest, as well as investigate felid space-use and the potential for biases resulting from non-random sampling. Although the area has been intensively logged over three decades, it was found to still retain the full complement of Bornean felids, including the bay cat Pardofelis badia, a poorly known Bornean endemic. Camera-trapping using strictly random locations detected four of the five Bornean felid species and revealed inter- and intra-specific differences in space-use. We compare our results with an extensive dataset of >1,200 felid records from previous camera-trapping studies and show that the relative abundance of the bay cat, in particular, may have previously been underestimated due to the use of non-random survey locations. Further surveys for this species using random locations will be crucial in determining its conservation status. We advocate the more wide-spread use of random survey locations in future camera-trapping surveys in order to increase the robustness and generality of inferences that can be made.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077598
PMCID: PMC3817192  PMID: 24223717
3.  Leaf Selection by Two Bornean Colobine Monkeys in Relation to Plant Chemistry and Abundance 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:1873.
Focusing on the chemical basis of dietary selection while investigating the nutritional ecology of animals helps understand their feeding biology. It is also important to consider food abundance/biomass while studying the mechanism of animal food selection. We studied leaf selection in two Bornean folivorous primates in relation to plant chemistry and abundance: proboscis monkeys inhabiting a secondary riverine forest and red leaf monkeys inhabiting a primary forest. Both species tended to prefer leaves containing higher protein levels, although more abundant plant species were chosen within the preferred species, probably to maximise energy gain per unit time. However, the two species showed clear differences in their detailed feeding strategy. Red leaf monkeys strictly chose to consume young leaves to adapt to the poor nutritional environment of the primary forest, whereas proboscis monkeys were not highly selective because of the better quality of its common food in the riverine forest.
doi:10.1038/srep01873
PMCID: PMC3660720  PMID: 23695180
4.  Regurgitation and remastication in the foregut-fermenting proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) 
Biology Letters  2011;7(5):786-789.
Although foregut fermentation is often equated with rumination in the literature, functional ruminants (ruminants, camelids) differ fundamentally from non-ruminant foregut fermenters (e.g. macropods, hippos, peccaries). They combine foregut fermentation with a sorting mechanism that allows them to remasticate large particles and clear their foregut quickly of digested particles; thus, they do not only achieve high degrees of particle size reduction but also comparatively high food intakes. Regurgitation and remastication of stomach contents have been described sporadically in several non-ruminant, non-primate herbivores. However, this so-called ‘merycism’ apparently does not occur as consistently as in ruminants. Here, to our knowledge we report, for the first time, regurgitation and remastication in 23 free-ranging individuals of a primate species, the foregut-fermenting proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus). In one male that was observed continuously during 169 days, the behaviour was observed on 11 different days occurring mostly in the morning, and was associated with significantly higher proportions of daily feeding time than on days when it was not observed. This observation is consistent with the concept that intensified mastication allows higher food intake without compromising digestive efficiency, and represents an expansion of the known physiological primate repertoire that converges with a strategy usually associated with ruminants only.
doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0197
PMCID: PMC3169055  PMID: 21450728
rumination; merycism; foregut fermentation; herbivory; food intake

Results 1-4 (4)