A year in Borneo | University of Oxford
OSB archive
OSB archive

A year in Borneo

Pete Wilton

We've been tracking the progress of the OuTrop Project looking to conserve the environment and wildlife of Borneo's forests.

One of the leaders of the project Susan Cheyne, of Oxford University's WildCRU, is back in the UK to talk about the progress being made and why these forests are vital to the survival of orang-utans, wild cats, and other rare species.

'We've now collected 14,000 hours of animal observations and the gibbon project has over 9,000 hours, making these among the largest studies of their kind,' Susan told us. 'The results are used for conservation purposes but are revealing many interesting discoveries on the behaviour, ecology, social structure and development of two of mankind's closest relatives.'

It's not just about apes, the team have found that Sabangau forest is a strong-hold for birds and mammals such as the elusive Bornean clouded leopard.

'We have data on 3 male clouded leopards and 1 female and we've been investigating threats to these cats including direct and indirect hunting and the possible long-term impacts of habitat loss through fires on the sustainability of the population,' Susan explains.

Along with studying the wildlife, OuTrop also funds a range of conservation activities including replanting areas of the forest and restoring natural water courses by damming artificial drainage canals. It also funds and works with local villagers to help prevent illegal logging and hunting and fight forest fires.

Susan Cheyne talks to BBC Radio Oxford about her work at 3pm on 14 February.

UPDATE: Listen again to the interview online [c. 2:05 on iPlayer clock].

She is a member of WildCRU, part of Oxford's Department of Zoology.