Socio-ecological factors shape the distribution of a cultural keystone species in Malaysian Borneo

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David J Kurz, Thomas Connor, Jedediah F. Brodie, Esther Lonnie Baking, Sabrina Szeto, Andrew Hearn, Penny C. Gardner, Oliver Wearn, Mairin Deith, Nicolas J. Deere, Ahmad Ampeng, Henry Bernard, Jocelyn Goon Ee Wern, Alys Granados, Olga Helmy, Hong - Ye Lim, Matthew S Luskin, David Macdonald, Joanna Ross, Boyd Simpson, Matthew J. Struebig, Jayasilan Mohd - Azlan, Matthew D. Potts, Benoit Goossens, Justin S Brashares


Biophysical and socio-cultural factors have jointly shaped the distribution of global biodiversity, yet relatively few studies have quantitatively assessed the influence of social and ecological landscapes on wildlife distributions. We sought to determine whether social and ecological covariates shape the distribution of a cultural keystone species, the bearded pig (Sus barbatus). Drawing on a dataset of 295 total camera trap locations and 25,755 trap days across 18 field sites and three years in Sabah and Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, we fitted occupancy models that incorporated socio-cultural covariates and ecological covariates hypothesized to influence bearded pig occupancy. We found that all competitive occupancy models included both socio-cultural and ecological covariates. Moreover, we found quantitative evidence supporting Indigenous pig hunting rights: predicted pig occupancy was positively associated with predicted high levels of Indigenous pig-hunting groups in low-accessibility areas, and predicted pig occupancy was positively associated with predicted medium and low levels of Indigenous pig-hunting groups in high-accessibility areas. These results suggest that bearded pig populations in Malaysian Borneo should be managed with context-specific strategies, promoting Indigenous pig hunting rights. We also provide important baseline information on bearded pig occupancy levels prior to the 2020–2021 outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF), which caused social and ecological concerns after mass dieoffs of bearded pigs in Borneo. The abstract provided in Malay is in the Supplementary file.



Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology


conservation, Coupled Human and Natural Systems, hunting, Sabah, Sarawak, socio-ecological systems, Southeast Asia, wildlife distributions


Published: 2022-09-15 05:36

Last Updated: 2023-03-02 09:39

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CC-By Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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