Introducing the Blavatnik School of GovernmentThis article on the Blavatnik School of Government is the first of our Feature articles on some of the unique...
Photograph by A.J.Hearn & WildCRU
WildCRU is the University of Oxford’s wildlife conservation research unit. Founded in 1986 under the leadership of Professor David Macdonald, it conducts projects around the world. It aims to use scientific research to find practical solutions to conservation problems, and works closely with governments and local communities to implement these solutions for the benefit of wildlife and the people who live locally.
One of WildCRU’s biggest projects looks at clouded leopards in SE Asia. Clouded leopards are the smallest of the big cats and are by far the least known. Their populations have become very low because of the loss of the forest, their natural habitat, which is being cut down to make way for industrial plantations of oil palm and other fast growing timber. Fragmentation of remaining forest and the hunting of the cats and their prey also present significant threats to these cats.
A major element of this project is the use of trap cameras which are used to develop an understanding of the population density and behaviour of the clouded leopards. Satellite collaring will also help to build a more complete picture of their movements and habitat needs. The WildCRU team works closely with local authorities to find practical solutions that will help with the conservation of the clouded leopards and the forests and wildlife that lives in them, as well as benefitting the local population.