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ESR 45:225-235 (2021)  -  DOI:

Hunting pressure is a key contributor to the impending extinction of Bornean wild cattle

Penny C. Gardner1,2,3,4, Benoît Goossens1,2,5,6,*, Soffian Bin Abu Bakar5, Michael W. Bruford2,6

1Danau Girang Field Centre, c/o Sabah Wildlife Department, Wisma Muis, 88100 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
2Organisms and Environment Division, Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff CF10 3AX, UK
3School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences, Life Sciences Building 85, University of Southampton, Highfield Campus, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
4RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, The Lodge, Sandy SG19 2DL, UK
5Sabah Wildlife Department, Wisma Muis, 88100 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
6Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff University, 33 Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3BA, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Widespread and unregulated hunting of ungulates in Southeast Asia is resulting in population declines and localised extinctions. Increased access to previously remote tropical forest following logging and changes in land-use facilitates hunting of elusive wild cattle in Borneo, which preferentially select secluded habitat. We collated the first population parameters for the Endangered Bornean banteng Bos javanicus lowi and developed population models to simulate the effect of different hunting offtake rates on survival and the recovery of the population using reintroduced captive-bred individuals. Our findings suggest that the banteng population in Sabah is geographically divided into 4 management units based on connectivity: the Northeast, Sipitang (West), Central and Southeast, which all require active management to prevent further population decline and local extinction. With only 1% offtake, population growth ceased in the Northeast and Sipitang. In the Southeast and Central units, growth ceased at 2 and 4% offtake, respectively. Extinction was estimated at 21-39 yr when offtake was 5%, occurring first in Sipitang and last in the Central unit. Supplementing the population with captive-bred individuals suggested that inbreeding was likely to limit population growth if using ≤20 founder individuals. Translocating 2 individuals for a 10 yr period, starting after 20 yr of captive breeding resulted in a faster population recovery over 100 yr and a lower extinction probability. Our results suggest that shielding the population against further losses from hunting will be key to their survival in the wild, provided that active management in the form of captive breeding is developed in the interim.

KEY WORDS: Banteng · Bos javanicus lowi · Hunting · Offtake · Population modelling · Vortex · Tropical forest · Borneo

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Cite this article as: Gardner PC, Goossens B, Bakar SBA, Bruford MW (2021) Hunting pressure is a key contributor to the impending extinction of Bornean wild cattle. Endang Species Res 45:225-235.

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