Project Harimau Selamanya

Lead researcher: Reuben

Team members: Wai YeeSri and Akmal.

Government partners: Economic Planning Unit, Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Terengganu State Forestry Department

International NGO partners: Panthera and Woodland Park Zoo

This project aims to conduct scientific research to help conserve three large carnivore species in and around habitat linkages of the Central Forest Spine: the Malayan Tiger Panthera tigris jacksoni (‘Harimau belang’ in Malay), the Leopard Panthera pardus (‘Harimau kumbang’) and Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa (‘Harimau dahan’). This project is jointly funded by Panthera and Woodland Park Zoo.

Three large carnivore species that will be the focal species of this project

In order to assess the effectiveness of conservation interventions for these species, their population density estimates need to be determined in potential source sites around these linkages. Linkages in Malaysia mainly consist of production forest reserves and state land forests that adjoin protected areas/source sites, but most are not fully protected and are becoming increasingly fragmented by roads, infrastructure and monoculture plantations. Research questions that will be answered in this project include:

1) What are the population density estimates of tigers, leopards and clouded leopards in potential source sites and adjoining habitat linkages?

2) How can we increase the usage of highway underpasses by large carnivores and their prey in habitat linkages?

3) Is there large carnivore gene flow out of protected areas via habitat linkages?

4) Can we predict how fragmentation and hunting will affect large carnivores and their prey in and around habitat linkages?

This project will not only help contribute to the conservation of large carnivores in and around fragmented habitat linkages, but also contribute to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks’ planned National Tiger Survey and National Tiger Conservation Action Plan. Ultimately, this project will help protect tiger, leopard and clouded leopard populations in Peninsular Malaysia’s Central Forest Spine.

The first phase of this project will focus in a “Core Area” within Terengganu that will encompass Primary Linkage 7 (Kenyir Wildlife Corridor) and part of Malaysian’s largest protected area where most of Malaysia’s tigers are still found – Taman Negara. In this Core Area, the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) and researchers from Rimba are conducting camera trapping in 600 km2 of forest to obtain baseline population density estimates of all three species, which can be used to monitor the effectiveness of management interventions within the Core Area.

This project continues the work started by the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor Project and Project Black Cloud. We are still looking for suitable research assistants to help with this project. Interested candidates please send an email with your CV directly to Reuben.