Video update 8: Malaysia’s Flying Foxes

Today is Bat Appreciation Day!

Bats are wonderful animals, and they do so much for us! Malaysia is home to our very own Keluang, or Flying Foxes — some of the largest fruit bats in the world. Fruit bats are some of the few animals with a dual role of both pollinators and seed dispersers, and function as highly efficient night-time gardeners who can fly across vast distances.

However, their populations are declining at an alarming rate. Prejudiced and misunderstood, flying foxes are often killed despite their importance in maintaining the health of our tropical ecosystems.

This short video introduces you to Malaysia’s wonderful flying foxes and encourages you to support their protection and conservation, highlighting the vital ecological roles of these fascinating animals through never-before-seen footage from the wild.

Written, produced and directed by Ng Wen Qing for Project Pteropus, Rimba. Big thanks also to Sanjitpaal Singh of Jitspics and Xploregaia, and Kapas Conservation Club for contributing footage. Bahasa Malaysia, Cantonese, and Mandarin versions available further below.

This #BatAppreciationDay, let’s all take a moment to #thankthebats and pledge to protect them  🦇

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Project Update 22, Publication Update 20: Project Limestone Press Release

Scientists and Lafarge Malaysia Collaborate to Study Threatened Land Snails

Kuala Lumpur – Scientists and Lafarge Malaysia recently embarked on a joint study to document the diversity of land snails at limestone hills in Peninsular Malaysia.

A quarried limestone hill in Kinta Valley, Perak, Malaysia. Credit: Junn Kitt Foon. License: CC-BY 4.0

Formed from reefs beneath ancient seas, limestone hills are regarded as “arks of biodiversity” because they can harbour plant and animal species found nowhere else on Earth. A recent study showed that at least 445 limestone hills can be found scattered across Peninsular Malaysia.

Research has also shown that limestone hills provide numerous benefits to humans, by storing groundwater, or providing habitat for cave bats that either pollinate commercially important trees like Durian, or reduce pests in rice fields.

To support the construction industry which plays a vital role in the socio-economic development of the country, however, certain limestone hills are being quarried to make cement. Continue reading

Toolbox update 7: How to use Peninsular Malaysia’s first online map of limestone hills

For many years, scientists in Project Limestone have been frustrated by the lack of GIS information on limestone hills in Malaysia.  Till now, information on localities, shapes and sizes could only be obtained from books and journals, but not anymore…

Thanks to Liew and the team, Rimba has created Peninsular Malaysia’s first online map containing 445 hills.  This GIS map can easily be accessed by anyone who has Google Earth. This map is not a final product, but can be constantly improved by anyone who wants to add spatial or biological information on limestone hills. All the methods and data are available for anyone to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute.

With this map, we were finally able to conduct a simple conservation prioritisation exercise for limestone hills based on their size and the degree to which they are isolated and disturbed.

You can find our paper published here in the journal Tropical Conservation Science. Meanwhile, here are videos that explain the methodology, and how to update and use this map!