Project update 16: Harimau muda!

No, this is not an update on the fortunes of Malaysia’s youth football team, affectionately named Harimau Muda.

Instead, this is the first update on one of Rimba’s youngest (‘muda’ in Bahasa Melayu) projects – Harimau Selamanya!

This newest project only hit the ground running in February and is still very much in its infancy. However, it has been a challenging and eventful last four months!

At the beginning of April, this project began with a one-week tiger sign survey workshop conducted by Panthera (Drs. Joe Smith and Rob Pickles) for research officers (Hakim, Khairul, Fauzi, Alim, Hafiz, Amirul) from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) and researchers (Wai Yee, Laurie, Jasdev and Reuben) and field assistants from Rimba.

Field assistants Uda, Rasul and Daha sniffing out and marking a tiger spray on a leaf. Scent spraying is a very common form of communication among tigers. The liquid used in spraying is not pure urine; it is mixed with scent gland secretions.

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Project update 14: Final report from Project Black Cloud

laurie_leopard The final trek is over, all of our cameras are in and the fieldwork for Project Black Cloud has, at last, come to a close. And it was just in time too! During December 2013, the floods that swept the east coast of the peninsula arrived in Kenyir, submerging the area under our house. In the forest, what had previously been innocent-looking streams rapidly turned into swollen rivers. The team managed to safely negotiate these, but sometimes needed the help of rattan ropes strung across the river. This one-year project in its current form comes to an official end as Laurie puts the finishing touches to his Master’s thesis – but fear not, we’re not done with Kenyir just yet. Continue reading

Photo update 9: Just how important is the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor?

Between 1999 and 2001, Dr Kae Kawanishi recorded 40  mammal species (including humans) on camera traps during her surveys  in Peninsular Malaysia’s largest protected area in Taman Negara.

It’s now 2012. So far, researchers in Rimba have recorded at least 38 mammal species on camera traps in the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor (~170 sq km), which is around 4% of Taman Negara’s size!  Of the total species count (from camera traps, sightings and tracks), 6 are ‘endangered’ and 9 are ‘vulnerable’ according to the IUCN Red List.

The selectively logged forests within this corridor are vital habitats for Malaysia’s threatened mammals. However, many of them, such as Rimba’s mascot below, face an uncertain future in Kenyir.

Habitat loss (for dam construction and eco-tourism infrastructure) and poaching currently threaten the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor.  This is the only area in Terengganu  where mammals and other wildlife can still cross from Taman Negara towards the forests in Hulu Terengganu. We hope the Terengganu State Government will spare important areas of the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor from further development, and gazette it as Malaysia’s first official Wildlife Corridor!

We now have the latest list of mammal species in Kenyir, as well as recent camera trap photos that depict the five endangered species, their threats, and the signs of hope for Kenyir. Continue reading