Project update 21, publication update 19: Project Pteropus delivers results!

Sheema completed her PhD in Ecology last November, when she successfully defended her thesis at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. Now comes the good part: sharing the results, data and information from her research! We’re happy to announce that 2 new papers from her thesis just got published this month.

Fruit bats are important ecosystem service providers, pollinating flowers and dispersing seeds over long distances. Instead of protecting these useful flying mammals however, humans are threatening their survival through hunting and persecution.

Finding out what flying foxes eat is a first step towards discovering what flowers they pollinate and what seeds they disperse. This will help strengthen the cause to promote their protection. Project Pteropus started investigating this question in 2015, and now, the results of the analysis are finally out! We’ve made a first start towards answering the question of ‘What do the Tioman Island flying foxes eat?’

Identifying flying fox food plants by collecting and analysing droppings

PeerJ image Continue reading

Publication update 18: Bats in the Anthropocene

Chapter 13

If you’d like to learn more about bats, don’t miss out on downloading this brand new, open-access book on bat conservation edited by Tigga Kingston and Christian Voigt‘Bats in the Anthropocene: conservation of bats in a changing world’. Thanks to partial funding from SEABCRU, this online book is completely free to download, either in whole or as separate chapters. Continue reading

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

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 16: Do conservation scientists need to work harder to get their research noticed?

Hey folks, remember this publication update?

Does Social Media 'Like' Conservation?

In that article, we talked about how we shared a facebook post that featured a turtle being abused, reached around 63,000 people within a few hours of its posting. The moral of the story was that sensational news such as those on animal abuse appeared to garner more attention from the public than news on conservation issues.

That article was led by one of Rimba’s researchers, Lahiru Wijedasa. But that wasn’t the last word…

Continue reading

Publication update 15: The bear and the pangolin

sunbear pangolin
© Reuben Clements / Rimba

Hi folks, we have another publication update to share. A little late, this interesting observation was originally shared in the IUCN/SSC Bear Specialist Group‘s spring newsletter by Laurie and Sheema. It has something to do with the photo above…can you spot the pangolin in the shot??

While going through Reuben’s camera trap photos for the database, Sheema first noticed this particular bear exhibiting some strange behaviour over several consecutive shots. Things got really interesting when she realised what it had in its mouth… Continue reading

Publication update 14: Does social media ‘like’ conservation?

Does Social Media 'Like' Conservation?

This publication is somewhat different from the rest. Spearheaded by Lahiru, it’s a short note on the role of social media, such as Facebook, in conservation messaging.

Many of you have been following us on our Facebook page (the blue Facebook widget tucked into the banner at the top of this site will take you there), which we set up 2 years ago to raise awareness and concern about biodiversity conservation. Over time, we noticed that certain posts got a lot more attention and ‘likes’ than others. When the viral attention received by one particular post we shared shocked even us, Lahiru decided to conduct a little experiment…

Read more about our results and conclusions below, which we submitted to The Scientist, and are now available online:

Wijedasa L.S., Aziz S.A., Campos-Arceiz A. and Clements G.R. 2013. Does Social Media “Like” Conservation? The Scientist. 8 April.

Publication update 13: Another new snail species from Terengganu!

It’s always a treat to find a species new to science.

But finding a new species of snail from Terengganu isn’t surprising.

One reason is that before the second half of the last century,  malacologists (scientists who study snails) mainly looked for snails in the Federated Malay States, which consisted of Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak and Selangor.

Finding a new species in Malaysia also isn’t that surprising. According to a study by Giam, one of Rimba’s researchers, tropical moist forests of the Neotropics, Afrotropics, and Indomalaya (this includes Malaysia!) are likely to harbour the greatest numbers of undescribed species.

Just last year, Reuben and his colleague, Tan Siong Kiat, described a new genus and species of snail in Terengganu. This snail is now known as Kenyirus sodhii. That was the first snail ever described from Terengganu and one of the first few animals to be named after Kenyir.

Now Reuben and another colleague, Mohammad Effendi bin Marzuki, are proud to announce another new species of snail from Terengganu: Pearsonia tembatensis.

Pearsonia tembatensis, new species, from Tembat Forest Reserve, Terengganu. Red circle indicates snorkel.
Pearsonia tembatensis, new species, from Tembat Forest Reserve, Terengganu. Red circle indicates snorkel.

Just for the record, this is the first time scientists have found this genus (Pearsonia) in Malaysia! You can read more information on this discovery here, which was published in the recent issue of the journal Raffles Bulletin of Zoology.

If you look closely at the shell of this snail, you will notice a snorkel-like protuberance (circled in red) on the shell. For now, nobody knows yet what the function of this ‘snorkel’ is for.

You might find the name tembatensis familiar, as this snail was named after Tembat Forest Reserve, where Reuben conducted his camera trapping work under the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor Project.

The snail was also named after Tembat to highlight the environmental destruction befalling this forest reserve due to the construction of  new hydroelectric dams. We hope that we’ll still be able to find this snail in drier parts of the forest once the dam begins operating, because in the flooded areas, even its snorkel won’t be able to keep this air breather alive for long…