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Improving knowledge to improve protection



2017 – 2023
Palawan Island, Philippines

Status 40%
L’objectif général du projet est d’améliorer les connaissances sur l’écologie du binturong ainsi que sur le réel statut de sa population au travers d’études scientifiques alliant piégeage photographique et radio-pistage. Ces informations sont capitales afin de pouvoir créer un programme de conservation adapté.


  • Creating partnerships with local organisations such as government offices, universities and NGOs.
  • Obtaining Official authorization for the research project.
  • Creating a method of canopy camera trapping (5 to 20 meters high in the treetops) allowing to get a twofold increase in detection rate.
  • Publishing a first scientific paper in “Our Palawan”.
  • Participating in three national and international conferences to disseminate information
  • Involving Filipino and French university students in the implementation of various research protocols.


  • Mapping the distribution of binturongs on Palawan Island through the multiplication of study sites.
  • Ecological study of the binturong through the use of arboreal camera trapping.


  • Setting up a radio tracking study on two binturongs and collecting new behavioral data on the species.

  • Study on binturong diet.

  • Study on how binturongs use the forest.


The challenge: a difficult animal to study

The binturong, in addition to being little known by the general public, has been very little studied by scientists. The majority of available data on its behavior, reproduction or diet comes from studies in captivity and only three studies were conducted in the wild, which gives only a vague insight of the size of its territory, its diet or interactions between individuals. The main reason why scientists are reluctant to study this animal is that the binturong is particularly difficult to observe because of its natural behavior. Indeed, as it lives between 10 and 20 meters high and is mostly active at night, conventional study methods often fail to provide accurate and reliable information. But, being driven by its passion, it takes more to stop ABConservation’s team!

Goals: improving knowledge to improve protection

Through the Bearcat Study Program, the goal of ABConservation is to improve knowledge about specific aspects of binturong ecology as well as to estimate the remaining number of individuals in the forest of Palawan Island. This knowledge is crucial to establish a conservation program that perfectly meets the needs of the species, because how can we protect something we do not understand?

The implemented studies focus on three themes:

  • Distribution and density of binturong populations in Palawan.
  • Feeding and social behavior of binturongs in Palawan.
  • Interactions between binturongs and Palawan forests.
Study site – El Nido forest, Palawan Island, Philippines. Credit D. Van Rooyen

Our actions: targeted studies

Number of photographs obtained between 2017 and 2019
Our detection rate in Langogan forest
Highest rate in available publications
Median rate in reviewed publications

Implementation of a new method

The first two years of work were devoted to the implementation of an arboreal camera-trapping protocol, between 5 and 20 meters in height. Our team’s hard work resulted in considerably increased chances of observing binturongs by camera trapping.

Tree climbing- Langogan forest, Palawan island, Philippines. Credit M. Vergniol

Picture of a binturong obtained by camera trapping - Langogan forest, Palawan Island, Philippines

Study of binturong ecological preferences

Since February 2017, photographic traps have been set up in turn in different protected areas to highlight binturong preferences in terms of environment and forest type. The data is currently being acquired. They will enable us to assess the characteristics common to the areas in which the binturong is most frequently observed. This will enable us to categorize Palawan's different habitats according to their suitability for the binturong's needs, and the characteristics identified may enable us to rehabilitate environments initially hostile to this species.

Understanding the links between the binturong and the forest

Using data obtained by camera trapping, but also thanks to the tracking of wild individuals using GPS-equipped radio collars, we have started to collect a lot of data on the behavior of the binturong and how it uses its territory. This information is very varied in nature, as our objectives include identifying the species of trees used for shelter, for feeding or to give birth, but also determining the necessary vital space for a binturong individual.

Tous les résultats de nos études font l’objet de publications scientifiques dont la plupart sont libres d’accès. Pour plus d’informations, rendez-vous dans la partie scientifique.

Stakeholders in the field: an international and multidisciplinary team

The scientific team in the Philippines includes a total of five Filipino employees -  Eléa Delsaux, notre responsable scientifique; Reziel Camacho, notre assistante de recherche,  Marlon Abad responsable de terrain, Tatay Gelly et Ruben, nos guides en forêt. De nombreux bénévoles nous viennent régulièrement en aide. Nous tenons particulièrement à remercier Jacqueline Baut, Arvee Salazar et Dennis Van Rooyen pour leur soutien et leur engagement dans notre programme.

The project also draws its strength from its various partnerships and the people managing them: Atty Carlo B. Gomez and Myla S. Adriano (City-ENRO), Dr Tuquero (Palawan State University), Melinda and Chris Walsh (Sabuya Coffee Trading) and the entire team of Katala Foundation.

Voici l'équipe d'ABConservation aux Philippines avec les deux co-présidentes entourées des guides et de leurs familles à Langogan.
Filipino team - Palawan island, Philippines. Credit K. Sagun


French Office
57 rue Cuvier MNHN CP31
75005 Paris
Filipino Office

88 Paduga Road, Barangay santa Monica

Puerto Princesa City

5300 Palawan, Philippines


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