Press Release: New State Park to Strengthen Biodiversity Protection in Malaysia

KUALA TERENGGANU, 15 August – Malaysia’s Terengganu state government announced today that it has designated 10,386 hectares of land formerly slated for logging as a new protected area for conservation. This new state park in the Kenyir region of Terengganu is phase one of a much larger conservation project that lies within a globally important Tiger Conservation Landscape and critical wildlife corridor.

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The creation of this protected area and its ongoing management is a collaborative effort involving the Terengganu state government, and local nonprofit organization Rimba, in partnership with Rainforest Trust and Panthera/Woodland Park Zoo.

“This new protected area not only brings more key wildlife habitat under protection, but also protects vital forested watersheds that provide important ecosystem services to the people of Terengganu,” said Dr. Sheema Abdul Aziz, President of Rimba.

Estimated at more than 130 million years old, the dipterocarp forest in the Lawit-Cenana State Park is now protected from logging and secured from further development.

“The importance of this area simply cannot be underestimated,” said Rainforest Trust Chief Executive Officer Dr. Paul Salaman. “The creation of the new park is a rare and unparalleled opportunity to protect a spectacular and imperiled tropical forest harboring what is certainly one of the planet’s most awe-inspiring predators – the Critically Endangered Malayan Tiger.”

The forests of the new park contain some of the highest biodiversity in Asia and are home to 18 highly threatened mammal species, including the Asian Elephant, Sunda Pangolin, Asian Tapir, Dhole and White-handed Gibbon. Six of Malaysia’s eight wild cat species prowl these forests, including the Malayan Tiger.

“These apex predators face tremendous pressure from poaching, fuelled by the illegal trade in their body parts for traditional Chinese medicine,” said Dr. Gopalasamy Reuben Clements, lead investigator of Rimba’s Harimau Selamanya project and Associate Professor at Sunway University. Continue reading

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Video update 2: Empty nest syndrome

It’s happened!

The baby hornbills have finally grown up enough to leave home. That didn’t take long!

Anuar wrote to us yesterday with the following exciting update:

“The last few days of activity began with the opening of the front nest sealing, sometime between 4 and 5:30pm, May 24. The female exited the nest at 5:40pm and left the area. The two young birds remained inside. Food was still brought by the male, but less of it and less frequently. The male often presented food, but would not pass it to the birds inside. The male brought clumps of dirt that were passed to the nest, the birds inside breaking up the dirt and letting it drop at the front of the nest.

The first young bird to leave the nest did so around 6pm, May 24. This was not captured, but video prior to this time shows two active young, and all video after this time shows only 1 young inside. The second young bird left at 9:01am May 27, and remained near the nesting jar for 6 minutes before wandering off to the left.

The male visited the nest 3 hours after that with food, only to find an empty nest.”

Awww! We feel very fortunate indeed to have caught this occurrence on video. It’s an unbelievably wondrous spectacle – great job Anuar! Check out the video he sent us: Continue reading

Video update 1: A jar of hornbills

Welcome to the first video footage posted by Rimba, which is just the first of many!

We won’t be uploading singular videos from the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor, as we’re in the midst of compiling them into a video montage highlighting the importance of the corridor and what needs to be done to save it (more on that in the near future).

Instead, we’re bringing you our latest video hot off the video-trap. This clip features an Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) family consisting of Dad, Mom and kid (the loud chirping in the background is the kid). The dad goes out to fetch food for the mom and kid every day, both of whom are sealed within an earthen jar (locally known as ‘tempayan’ in Malay). Hornbills usually nest in tree hollows, but occasionally find ready-made homes such as clay jars to make their nests.

Our friend Anuar McAfee, who is a keen birder and the only person we know who has spotted 9 hornbill species in one day in Kenyir, introduced this location to us and we discussed the possibility of setting up a video-trap to document their behaviour. So we lent him a couple of Bushnell cameras (Thanks Ahimsa!) that were lying around the field house, and this is the report from Anuar so far: Continue reading