Flat-headed cats, Prionailurus planiceps – a literature review of their detection-rate in camera-trap studies and failure to re-detect them in Pasoh Forest Reserve, Malaysia
The flat-headed cat, Prionailurus planiceps, is globally endangered. In spite of the proliferation of camera-trap studies in Southeast Asia, few studies have detected the flat-headed cat and information on previous detections remains scattered. We combined literature review and fieldwork to (1) compile available information on previous flat-headed cat camera-trap detections, (2) try to re-detect flat-headed cat in Pasoh Forest Reserve, Malaysia, previously detected in 2013, and (3) compare three different camera-trap arrangements. Our literature review yielded a total sampling effort of 105,866 camera-trap nights and 46 flat-headed cat detections from six different areas of Borneo, Sumatra, and Peninsular Malaysia; but no camera-trap detections from Thailand and Myanmar. Re-detecting flat-headed cat more than twice only occurred in 50% of the areas. We found no previous camera-trap study that explicitly targeted flat-headed cat. Our camera-trapping in Pasoh Forest Reserve failed to re-detect flat-headed cat, even when using fish food as a bait. Our results highlight the need of field studies tailored towards slow-flowing freshwater habitats with a high number of camera-trap nights (e.g. greater than 2000 nights), to better understand the flat-headed cat distribution, ecology, and conservation status.