Project update 17: Harimau Selamanya: Year 1 in review

As Year 1 of Project Harimau Selamanya draws to a close, we can safely say that we had a very eventful and satisfying maiden year. A big thumbs up from the team, our government partners and our donors is testimony to this.

Happy to do what they do - our indomitable indigenous field assistants in the Core Area
Happy to do what they do – our indomitable indigenous field assistants in the Core Area

In any conservation project, there will be ups and downs.

This year, our major success was working hand-in-hand with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP or PERHILITAN) to determine a baseline tiger population density estimate for a Core Area in Kenyir-Taman Negara. More boots on the ground also meant that more information could be used to support enforcement efforts. Unfortunately, we cannot reveal our findings to the public as it is necessary to keep such data confidential.

Our researchers had to cover more than 600 sq km of forest in the Core Area.

One of the reasons why the first year of Harimau Selamanya yielded good quality data on large carnivores in the Core Area can be attributed to the intensive training courses on tiger sign identification and camera trapping provided by Panthera for researchers in Rimba and DWNP.

DWNP research officers subject to 'classroom torture' by Panthera trainers
DWNP research officers subject to ‘classroom torture’ by Panthera trainers

While the camera trapping work in the Core Area was completed successfully, there were unfortunately several bumps along the way. Researchers and field assistants came down with dengue fever and some were victims of wasp stings and even a pit viper bite! Thankfully, these cases were non-fatal, and knowing how to deal with these obstacles will stand us in better stead to overcome challenges thrown at us by Mother Nature in the future.

Jasdev with a 'hands-on' experience with a wasp sting
Jasdev’s ‘hands-on’ experience with a wasp sting

What’s planned for 2015?

Well, using the information gathered in Year 1, we will be ramping up our presence at key areas within the Core Area to monitor the status of tigers.  We will be re-surveying forests north of the Core Area in the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor to get Malaysia’s first population trend of melanistic leopards. You could say this is Project Black Cloud Version 2.0. Continuing our research in the corridor will also give us a better idea of how tigers and other large carnivores are moving in and out of the Core Area. We are currently recruiting, so please drop an email to Reuben if you are interested in working with us next year.

We are grateful to our partners DWNP and Department of Forestry, as well as our donors Panthera and Woodland Park Zoo for making this project a reality.

Here’s wishing you and our wildlife a better year ahead! Happy 2015 from all of us at Rimba!

May your 2015 be filled with safe wildlife encounters!
May your 2015 be filled with safe wildlife encounters!

 

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