Project update 18: Project Pteropus: Year 1 in review

It’s been an intense roller coaster adventure for Project Pteropus so far! Sadly, we still haven’t been successful in getting much funding, as none of our grant applications last year were accepted. Donors either feel that flying foxes aren’t a priority, Peninsular Malaysia isn’t a priority, or both 😦

Still, this hasn’t stopped us from accomplishing many things last year. Thanks to kind monthly donations from Marinescape of New Zealand – our sole donor – we were still able to carry out some fieldwork.

Reuben and Esteban hard at work collecting flying fox faeces under the burning sun
Reuben and Esteban hard at work collecting flying fox faeces under the burning sun

Much of last year was spent on recces, observations, and testing things out at Kampung Juara. We collected lots of bat droppings, fruits, flowers and seeds. We hiked several jungle trails and observed different trees and what they drop onto the forest floor. We talked to local people in the village, and asked them about their experiences, knowledge and opinions. We counted lots and lots of bats. And we did it all every single month, until the monsoon arrived around November, forcing us to take a break for a few months.

Project Pteropus wouldn't have been possible without help from amazing volunteers, friends and family :-)
Project Pteropus wouldn’t have been possible without help from amazing volunteers, friends and family 🙂

Most of the time, it was just Reuben and Sheema doing much of the work. But we were joined by many, many helpful volunteers who lent a hand, and this project would not have been possible if they hadn’t been willing to come along on our field trips and donate their time and energy! Esteban Brenes-Mora, our Costa Rican volunteer for 6 months, was an especially invaluable asset and is now sorely missed. And we would never have survived without help from Harimau Selamanya members Jasdev, Laurie and Wai Yee, plus our resident botanist Lahiru also made it over to help us identify plants. Huge thanks also to Lim Wee Siong, Anna Deasey, Khatijah Haji Hussin, Kim McConkey, Noraisah Majri, Mahfuzatul Izyan, and Joanne Tong. We’re also super grateful for all the help and support we’ve received from the lovely folk over at the Juara Turtle Project – Charlie, Izzati and Rahim are awesome people doing awesome work, so please check them out! They even donated the services of their volunteer Liz Moleski, who was kind enough to help out when Sheema got struck down by Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease (HFMD – the one that kids get, not cows!) and Reuben had to do a solo sampling trip. Last but not least, Project Pteropus benefited immensely from field visits and input from supportive supervisors Pierre-Michel Forget and Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz. All of these people helped to keep our project afloat and stop it from floundering 🙂

Here are some of the things we found out from last year’s work: 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 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.