Publication update 17: Kenyirus sheema – a new land snail species from an old rainforest

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Holotype of the new species Kenyirus sheema. Foon, Tan and Clements, 2015.

The Belum-Temengor Rainforest Complex (BTFC) in the State of Perak covers a cross section of Peninsular Malaysia’s terrestrial ecosystems from lowland rainforests at the foothills to tropical montane cloud forests in the highlands. This 300 sq km of wilderness is home to healthy populations of mammalian megafauna including the critically endangered Malayan Tiger, Panthera tigris jacksoni. In fact, the remarkable state of ecosystem preservation in BTFC makes it one of the most critical regions in Peninsular Malaysia for the conservation of almost every group of rainforest flora and fauna. However, it was a cherry-sized snail that particularly caught the attention of Reuben, during one of his routine mammal surveys in BTFC one morning in February 2009. Continue reading

Publication update 12: Indigenous rights matter!

Temiar children playing in RPS Banun, an Orang Asli resettlement in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex.
Temiar children playing in RPS Banun, an Orang Asli resettlement scheme in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex.

There was a time when people used to think that saving the environment was all about – well, the environment. Some people even confused it with ‘saving the trees’, ‘saving the animals’, or ‘saving wildlife’. Many conservationists nowadays know better. We’ve learnt that the environment has been shaped and nurtured by the many indigenous and local people who revere it, care for it and ultimately depend on its resources for their survival. Focusing on saving the environment, or wildlife, alone is meaningless if we don’t take into account the forest-dependent or sea-dependent peoples who are critical in ensuring nature’s well-being – and for whom, in turn, nature is a critical part of their lives. Sometimes they can be a part of the problem, but often they can be part of the solution too. This is why more conservationists need to start recognising the important role played by indigenous peoples in conservation, and also start considering and incorporating indigenous peoples in conservation efforts. Continue reading