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Presence-absence modelling (McKenzie et al.

2002, 2003) of camera-trapping data


for all 16 study sites on Borneo and Sumatra were tested and proved to be robust enough to
estimate a range of population sizes in these sites. The largest median population estimate
with 50% range overlap was 873 SE 197.1 adult bears in Kayan Mentarang National Park
(1.4 million ha) in East Kalimantan at a density of 0.042 bears/km-2. In the adjacent
unprotected lowland Bulungan Forest (4,226 ha) densities were lower (0.025 bears/km-2)
with an estimate of 156 SE 48.6 adult bears. In Sumatras Gunung Leuser National Park
(800,000 ha) the population estimate was 280 SE 61.2 adult bears at a density of 0.023
bears/km-2. Lower densities in Sumatra and the Bulungan region are likely due to more
extensive habitat loss, fragmentation, and hunting. Although hunting occurs in Kayan
Mentarang National Park, habitat disturbance is minimal. All estimates accounted for the
proportion of consistently occupied habitat, along with gaps between ranges, and are
consistent with published densities for the sun bears closest phylogenetic relatives.
Results indicate that the IUCN Red List (v. 3.1) for H. Malayanus can be updated
from Data Deficient (DD) to Vulnerable (VU C2ai) in Indonesia. Considering the low
abundances in Indonesia, which likely stewards the largest populations and protected areas in
the sun bears global range, the species may be Endangered (EN, based on criteria B1bi-v,
C2ai and D) or Critically Endangered (CR, based on criteria B1a and B1bi-v) in regions
where they are more isolated. These data also support the CITES Appendix 1 listing that H.
malayanus probably is in danger of extinction and is or may be affected by international
trade. The bears affinity for primary forest and the increasing rate of forest loss suggest
scientifically-based conservation measures should be implemented without delay. A time
and space mosaic can help planners create ecologically-sound reserve networks in these
fragmented landscapes.
This was the first study of its kind to generate empirically-based density and
abundance estimates of sun bears, and this is the first study of bears using presence-absence
modelling, such as that proposed by MacKenzie et al. (2002, 2003), to produce these
estimates. Thus, these estimates only provide an initial baseline, for which further research
should validate and examine trends through multi-year mark-recapture studies in
representative habitat types and conditions across the bears range.
Hunting is affecting sun bear populations in some areas, but in Indonesia the most
immediate threats to sun bear persistence are presently forest loss and disturbance. Sun bear
survival depends on (a) our ability to predict how biogeographic conditions, changing
landscape structures, environmental stochasticity, and anthropogenic disturbances affect bear
movement and foraging patterns across time and in increasingly patchy landscapes, (b)
improving long-term bear access to critical resources and habitat, and (c) implementing
species and habitat-specific protective mechanisms at landscape scales.
v

CONTENTS
Preface i
Summary ii
Acknowledgements xi

Chapter 1 Introduction and Objectives 1


1.1 Introduction 2
1.2 Addressing the Issues 4
1.3 Research Summary 6
1.4 Historic Context 7
1.5 Principal Issues 10
1.6 Prior Conservation Action and Recommendations 14
1.7 Study Goals and Objectives 15
1.7a Specific Goals 15

1.7b Specific Objectives and Questions 16


Objective 1: Sun Bear Ecology, Habitat, and Landscape Use 16
Objective 2: Sun Bear Density, Abundance, and Distribution 17
Objective 3: Analysis of Biogeographic and Disturbance Effects 17
Objective 4: Local Professional Development 19
Objective 5: Public Education 19
Objective 6: Recommendations and Conservation Planning 19
Chapter 2 Sun Bear Evolution and Biology 20
2.1 Sun Bear Evolution 21
2.2 Sun Bear Morphology 24
2.3 Sun Bear Biology 25
2.3a Prior Research 25
2.3b Reproduction 26
2.3c Foraging Ecology 27
2.3d Competitive Relationships 28
2.3e Agonistic Relationships 28
2.3f Ranging Patterns 29
2.3g Biogeographic Ecology 30
Chapter 3 Theoretical Framework 34
3.1 Island Biography Theory and Population Persistence 35
3.2 Foraging Theory and Habitat Selection 46
3.3 Disturbance Risk Hypothesis 52
vi

3.4 Perturbation Stress Hypothesis 55


3.5 Metapopulation Dynamics 65

Chapter 4 Study Areas, Feasibility Study, and Experimental Design 72


4.1 Introduction 73
4.2 Sumatra 74
4.2a The Leuser Ecosystem 76
4.3 Borneo 80
4.3a Kayan Mentarang and Bulungan Ecosystems 83
4.4 Feasibility Study 89
4.4a 2000 Preliminary