Team four made it back to Pekanbaru. And they’ve been a great help to the project. With lots of interviews with locals of the surrounding villages, both up and down the river. Quite a few of them have heard of people coming across tiger tracks in the last couple of months. Sadly, there is significant illegal logging going, so we have not been able to safely place any camera traps yet.
The big surprise came on Thursday afternoon. Helga, Sian, Nicky and Sabine, who had been surveying a village, came across a bird cage with a leopard cat in it, hanging in a tree in the sun! Helga, who works as a captive animal behaviourist, could see immediately see that, unsurprisingly, the very young cat was highly distressed and very dehydrated. They then found out that it had been in the bird cage for two months with barely enough room to move and unable to stand up fully. So the four of them, after some negotiation with the “owner”, who claimed the cat had walked into his house as a kitten, brought the cat back to base in the cage to save it from the inevitable. As it’s not an endangered species there are no sanctuaries to take it to, so once back in camp, the whole team sprung into action. The team got hold of a much larger cage and through guidance from Helga and Febri made a temporary habitat for the leopard cat to live in for the next few weeks, until it gets its strength back again. This will also give us time to make local enquiries and think of the best course of action with our local partner WWF.