Research Team

The Researchers

John MathaiJohn Mathai
Project Leader

John holds Masters degrees in Environmental Engineering (from VTU, India in 2002) and Conservation Biology (from JCU, Australia in 2009, graduating with the University Medal). He served with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Malaysia Program, first as a Field Biologist (2003 – 2008), and then as Assistant Head of the Logging and Wildlife Unit (2009 – 2011), coordinating wildlife research in logging concessions in Sarawak and contributing to the development of guidelines for forest management certification in Malaysia. From 2011 to 2013, he served as a Research Fellow with the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation (IBEC), Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), starting the research project HOSCAP Borneo, which simultaneously served as the Small Carnivore Research Group at IBEC. He completed his doctorate in 2019, under a scholarship with the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Germany, studying the effects of logging, climate change, and other variables on the distribution of small carnivores in Borneo. He then served as the Chief Liaison Officer with the research group Rimba in Terengganu, Peninsular Malaysia, where he was a key lobbyist, both for getting legislation passed for the gazettal of state parks in Terengganu, and for the gazettal of Kenyir State Park, one of the first two state parks to be gazetted in the state, and the largest state park in Terengganu. He was the main organiser and facilitator of various stakeholder consultation workshops, and was the lead author of the 10-Year Management Plan for Kenyir State Park, which covers aspects such as protection and enforcement, research and monitoring, education and awareness, stakeholder engagement, ecotourism, and green financing mechanisms.

John served as a member of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Small Carnivore Specialist Group, as a reviewer and Associate Editor for the journal Small Carnivore Conservation and as an assessor for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. He strongly believes that conservation is more than just a science or a career – it is a way of life which everyone must practice, as long as they breathe air and drink water, because, after all, air and water comes from healthy forests. He can be contacted at or

Lucy BuckinghamLucy Buckingham

Lucy graduated with an MSc Distinction in Tropical Coastal Management from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (UK) in 2005. Since then, Lucy has worked on wildlife monitoring projects for a number of organisations such as the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), Sea Watch Foundation, Cetacean Ecology and Acoustic Laboratory, Global Vision International, Endangered Species International and the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems. Lucy initially joined the Hose’s Civet and Small Carnivore Project as a volunteer in May 2012 and has since taken on the role of a Researcher. Lucy is looking forward to learning about population genetics within small carnivore communities whilst expanding her knowledge of statistics and conservation issues in Borneo. She also hopes that by working with local colleagues, she can improve her terrible language skills! Lucy can be contacted at

HOSCAP Borneo Advisor

Jerry BelantDr Jerrold L. Belant

Jerry Belant is an Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Management, Director of the Carnivore Ecology Laboratory, and Director for the Center for Resolving Human-Wildlife Conflicts at Mississippi State University. In addition, he is the former Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Small Carnivore Specialist Group, member of Council for the International Association for Bear Research and Management and elected affiliate member of the International Federation of Mammalogists. Jerry is Editor-in-Chief for Ursus and Small Carnivore Conservation and an Associate Editor for Wildlife Society Bulletin and Latin American Journal of Conservation. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and his Ph.D. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His research interests include wildlife resource use, monitoring and population estimation, human-wildlife interactions, and international conservation.

Jerry continues to give valuable advice to the HOSCAP Borneo team, applying his extensive knowledge in carnivore ecology, field research and data analysis techniques. In addition, he has helped source and acquire radio collars, receivers and antennas for the team to conduct the first ever telemetry study on the Hose’s Civet.

The HOSCAP Borneo Volunteers

Seth WongSeth Wong
Research Volunteer

Seth has volunteered on small carnivore projects studying fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) through the Earthwatch Institute in Madagascar and working with civets through Operation Wallacea in Sulawesi, Indonesia. He has also worked as an animal keeper at the San Francisco Zoo where he spent time interacting with visitors and provided care and enrichment for primates and birds. Seth graduated with a BSc in Wildlife and Fish Conservation Biology from the University of California Davis (UCD) in December 2012, where he also gained experience preparing mammal study skins while working at the UCD Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology. He has experience trapping fishers (Martes pennanti) and tracking them using radio telemetry in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, USA. His passion and interest is in the ecology and conservation of small carnivores. Seth worked with the HOSCAP Borneo team for two and a half months in mid-2013 and for the most part of 2014. Following this, he accompanied project leader John Mathai to assist a team from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, in conducting a wildlife monitoring project in Deramakot Forest Reserve, Sabah. Seth has since completed his Masters from the US and is contemplating a PhD, conducting fieldwork in Sarawak. Seth can be contacted at

Lukas Clark-MemlerLukas Clark-Memler
Volunteer Website and Social Media Manager

Lukas is studying towards a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and Information Science at the University of Otago in New Zealand. He has travelled extensively, and met the HOSCAP Borneo team while living in Sarawak. Lukas’ area of expertise is IT development, and he currently handles HOSCAP Borneo’s web and social media presence. When he’s not designing websites, Lukas writes about music for a wide range of international publications. When he completes his degree, he hopes to find a job that allows him to travel, write and philosophize (if such a career exists).

The Field Team

John LajoJohn Lajo
Field Guide

John Lajo has been John Mathai’s chief guide in the Sela’an Linau Forest Management Unit (FMU) since 2004. He is from the indigenous Penan community of the Upper Baram and is Headman of Long Sepigen, a Penan settlement along the Selungoh River. At age 50, John has almost 45 years experience hunting and tracking wildlife. Widely regarded as one of the best trackers along the Selungoh River, he possesses a wealth of traditional knowledge on medicinal plants, and is able to identify most tree species by their local name. Through his association with John M, John L. now speaks good English, is able to use a compass, and understands the basics of map reading and using a GPS unit. To him, the forest is home and without the forest, he ceases to exist.

Robert LajoRobert Lajo
Field Guide

Robert Lajo is from the indigenous Penan community of Long Sepigen and has been living, farming and hunting in the forests in the area all his life. Whilst working with HOSCAP Borneo, Robert regularly sets camera-traps and takes various habitat measurements in the field. He has excelled in learning new skills which, coupled with his good command of English and intimate knowledge of the forest, makes him an essential team member. Although Robert says that working with HOSCAP Borneo is very tiring, it is also a lot of fun and very different from his other experiences of working in the forest. Robert chose to work with HOSCAP Borneo as he is aware of the damage caused to the forest and recalls seeing many more animals in the region in the early 1990s. He also believes it is important to protect the forest for all people, including future generations. When Robert isn’t working with HOSCAP Borneo, he often works as a tourist guide in the area, enabling visitors to visit the local villages and forest. Robert thoroughly enjoys this work as he gets to meet people from all over the world and teach them about the forest and Penan communities and it gives him further opportunities to practice his English.

Lio Iyai Lio Iyai
Field Guide

Lio Iyai is from Long Kepang, an indigenous Penan settlement in the Upper Baram region of Sarawak. He now resides in Long Lellang with his wife and 3 children. Lio has been working with the HOSCAP Borneo team in the field since 2012 and during this time he has learnt how to set camera-traps, use a GPS and record various forest habitat measurements. Lio is keen to stay involved with HOSCAP Borneo as he believes it is important to study animals in their natural habitat and promote forest conservation.

Diana JohnDiana John
Field Assistant

Diana is from the indigenous Penan community of the Upper Baram and hails from the village of Long Sepigen along the Selungoh River. She completed her SPM (Malaysian equivalent of O Levels) in 2005, and has since worked in a variety of daily-paid jobs. She came aboard the HOSCAP Borneo team as a field assistant in mid-2012 and due to her schooling and knowledge of the study area, has picked up field research techniques quickly. She is skilled in traditional Penan weaving, and is interested in furthering her education at the tertiary level. Her duties with HOSCAP Borneo include assisting with habitat surveys and placement of camera-traps.

Englai PingEnglai Ping
Field Assistant

Englai Ping is from the Selungoh area of the Upper Baram region of Sarawak. In 1964 Englai joined the Malaysian Armed Forces (Angkatan Tentera Malaysia) where he served for 10 years with postings in Sungai Petani, Ipoh (Peninsular Malaysia) and Sibu, Sarawak. Englai has been working with the HOSCAP Borneo team in the field since 2012 and has learnt how to set camera-traps and use a GPS. Englai believes that HOSCAP Borneo is helping the community to preserve and safeguard the forest while they study the animals living in it.

Rasad GonRasad Gon
Camp Administrator

Rasad Gon is from the Penan settlement of Long Kepang in the Upper Baram region of Sarawak. She currently lives in Long Lellang with her sister, brother-in-law and their 3 children. Rasad has been working with field researchers in the Murud Kecil area of the Sela’an Linau Forest Management Unit (FMU) since 2010 and believes that HOSCAP Borneo is doing a good job in studying the wildlife in the area. Rasad plays a valuable role within the team as she strives to keep the team well nourished and field equipment safe. Whilst spending time in the forest with the project, Rasad became one of the few people in the world to have ever seen a live Hose’s Civet in the wild – a point of envy for the rest of the HOSCAP Borneo team!

Former Researchers

Amanda PeterAmanda Peter

Amanda was a Research Assistant on the HOSCAP Borneo team from March to September 2012. She graduated with a BSc in Ecology and Biodiversity from University Malaya in 2008 before working for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Malaysia Program as a field biologist in the Upper Baram. She has participated in community outreach and awareness programs and attended courses in wildlife statistics and enforcement and patrolling techniques. During her time with HOSCAP Borneo, she developed research experience with field monitoring techniques, particularly camera-trapping, and was responsible for developing the project’s accounts and filing system. We wish Amanda all the very best in her future endeavours. Amanda can be contacted at

Paul HenryPaul Henry

Paul used to work with HOSCAP Borneo as a Research Assistant from March to September 2012. He graduated from University Tunku Abdul Rahman with a Bachelors degree in Biomedical Science in 2010 and has a strong interest in nature photography and wildlife conservation. He has gained valuable experience volunteering in many community development and wildlife conservation projects in Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia and was a Research Assistant with the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor Project under the research group RIMBA, prior to joining HOSCAP Borneo. Paul has attended courses in India, China and Hong Kong to improve his skills and knowledge to become a better biologist. During his time with HOSCAP Borneo, he honed his research skills in wildlife monitoring techniques. Paul has recently moved to China and we wish him all the best. He can be contacted at

Nicholas OngNicholas Ong

Nick was a Research Assistant on the HOSCAP Borneo team from August 2012 till September 2013. He has been interested in nature and wildlife conservation from a young age and has a particular affinity towards reptiles. He gained his Diploma in Forestry from Chermai Jaya College in 2001 and successfully completed attachments with Semenggoh Nature Reserve and Wildlife Centre and Matang Wildlife Centre. With HOSCAP Borneo, Nick did what he has always wanted to do – field research in remote mountainous forests for extended periods of time, conducting camera-trapping and habitat analysis. Nick was also interested in Penan traditional knowledge, particularly their jungle survival skills and rattan weaving techniques. We wish Nick all the best in his future endeavours.

Former HOSCAP Borneo Volunteers

DanielDaniel Laird
Research Volunteer

Daniel studied Biology and Marine Science at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, graduating in 2010. He spent his final year on an exchange at the University of British Columbia, Canada, including one semester at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre on Vancouver Island learning field techniques and research skills. Daniel has also volunteered on research projects for several Masters and PhD students including using hair snares to monitor invasive stoats in New Zealand and testing the effects of salmon farm pesticides on prawns. After a year working in Australia to remedy his financial situation, Daniel returned to the world of research and volunteered with the HOSCAP Borneo team for four months in 2013. He is now back in school in Australia to complete an Honours program.

Sami AsadSami Asad
Research Volunteer

Sami graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2009 with a degree in zoology and has since volunteered with numerous international NGO’s. Having assisted with herpetological field research and conservation in Greece, Honduras and Indonesia, Sami was keen to branch out and develop and apply his skills in other areas. He recently assisted with the establishment of a community-based marine research and conservation organisation in the Koh Sdach archipelago off the coast of Cambodia. Following this, Sami returned to dry land to volunteer with HOSCAP Borneo from March – November 2013 and again from May – July 2014, to expand his knowledge of terrestrial biodiversity monitoring and assessment. He has since completed his Masters from the UK and is working towards his PhD, conducting fieldwork in Sabah. Sami can be contacted at

Lauren_GrimaLauren Grima
Research Volunteer

Lauren graduated with a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Ecology) from the University of Sydney in 2006 and is currently undertaking a Masters in Wildlife Management with Macquarie University. Since completing her degree Lauren has worked for the Australian NSW State Government in Forestry Policy and Regulation and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service monitoring small mammals across NSW using camera traps. Lauren has a passion for travel and whilst travelling across South America and South East Asia has volunteered with a variety organisations including IntiWaraYassi Wildlife Refuge, Bolivia, Reserva Los Cedros Cloud Forest, Ecuador and Coral Cay Conservation, Cambodia. Lauren volunteered with HOSCAP Borneo from March – July 2014 to gain a better understanding of the scientific research and modelling required to make recommendations on how to reduce the impacts of forestry operations on vulnerable forest fauna.

Simon_MillerSimon Miller
Research Volunteer

Simon graduated from the University of Southampton in 2009 with a BSc in geography, having his first tropical fieldwork experience while completing his dissertation with Operation Wallacea in Indonesia. Following university, Simon has worked and travelled in the developing world for the last 4 years, working on terrestrial projects in the Bolivian Amazon at both a wildlife rescue centre rehabilitating big cats and teaching English in a remote community-run Eco-tourism project. Following work in Fiji and New Zealand, Simon has recently been managing marine surveys for Coral Cay Conservation in Cambodia. Simon volunteered with HOSCAP Borneo from March – July 2014 to develop his skills in terrestrial conservation and spend time in the Bornean jungle.

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