Project update 3: Kenyir forests are alive and about to be camera trapped!

Heads up folks! This is the first ever fieldwork update from the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor Project and we’re very excited to report that the Kenyir forests are alive and well!

We’ve just completed 4-km transects at more than 30 access points along the Kuala Berang highway. This highway cuts through three contiguous production forest reserves consisting mainly of lowland and hill dipterocarp forests. Our project site lies within a globally important Tiger Conservation Landscape, one of three priority areas according to the National Tiger Action Plan for Malaysia1, and is also identified as Primary Linkage 7 in the Central Forest Spine (CFS) Master Plan for Ecological Linkages2. So you can see why it’s important that we assess impacts of highway viaducts in this landscape.

We’ve already recorded a total of 19 mammal species in the project site to date. Some of these species were caught on video (Right click and select ‘save as’ for best results):

1. Malayan Tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni)

2. Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus): individual, tusker, female and calves

3. Leopard (Panthera pardus)

4. Asian Golden Cat (Pardofelis temminckii)

5. Leopard Cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)

6. Asian Tapir (Tapirus indicus)

7. Malayan Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus)

8. Sambar Deer (Rusa unicolor)

9. Barking Deer (Muntiacus muntjak)

10. Wild Pig (Sus scrofa)

11. Serow (Capricornis sumatraensis)

12. White-handed Gibbon (Hylobates lar)

13. Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis)

14. Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca nemestrina)

15. Dusky Leaf Monkey (Trachypithecus obscurus)

16. Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus)

17. Malay Civet (Viverra tangalunga)

18. Banded Palm Civet (Hemigalus derbyanus)

19. Cream-coloured Giant Squirrel (Ratufa affinis)

That’s an impressive list of mammals, and out of these, signs of three species have been detected under the viaducts so far: Asian Tapir (Tapirus indicus), Barking Deer (Muntiacus muntjak) and Wild Pig (Sus scrofa). It’ll take us awhile though before we can analyse all the data, as we’ll only find time to carry out analyses towards the end of the year. Stay tuned for that…

Reconyx camera traps lined up in the field house and ready for deployment

The next phase of this project involves direct (placing camera traps) and indirect sign surveys using a grid-based sampling approach. Grid-based sampling is basically where we place imaginary grids over our project site to help guide us as to where and how frequently we want to carry out sampling in the area. We’ll analyse the data within an occupancy modelling framework, which will help us estimate how much of an area is occupied by a certain species.

For the direct sign surveys, we’ll be using Reconyx HC500 Semi-Covert IR camera traps, which finally arrived last week in KL. Many thanks to our donors and Mr. Burhanuddin from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks for helping to receive our delivery! The Reconyx HC500 camera is equipped with all sorts of snazzy, exclusive hi-tech features which should enable it to produce sharper and clearer images. (If you’re interested in finding out more details about this particular camera trap model, contact Trailcampro or Reuben.) All the units have been tested and are raring to be deployed! It has been shown that camera traps detect more species than indirect sign surveys. We’ll let you know how they fare in this wet, wet landscape…

Yesterday we began our direct and indirect sign surveys in the first of two 92 km2 forest blocks along the highway. We set up our first camera trap along an old logging road at around 1 p.m. yesterday. We’re fired up about starting our sampling work and we hope to bring you more wonderful photos from these cameras traps in the coming months, so watch this space!!

Project Alpha members (From left: Paul, Reuben, William, Acik and Azhar) overjoyed (OK not all) at their first camera trap placement for occupancy surveys

1. DWNP 2008. National Tiger Action Plan for Malaysia. Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

2. DTCP 2009. Central Forest Spine (CFS): Master Plan for Ecological Linkages. Department of Town and Country Planning (DTCP), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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5 thoughts on “Project update 3: Kenyir forests are alive and about to be camera trapped!

  1. The creation of viaducts across highways is a good idea for connectivity. However, they must be regularly monitored. Poachers have ideas, too.

  2. Woohoo!! Full steam ahead! As you promised, this is indeed high quality spam. =P Looking forward to more!

    p/s: Are the matching handsocks a fashion statement?

  3. What a great bit of news! This data will be extremely valuable and will undoubtedly contribute hugely to improve our forest management and hopefully will impress our government to allocate more funding for wildlife conservation. Well done!! Keep up the good work!

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