Publication update 12: Indigenous rights matter!

Temiar children playing in RPS Banun, an Orang Asli resettlement in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex.
Temiar children playing in RPS Banun, an Orang Asli resettlement scheme in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex.

There was a time when people used to think that saving the environment was all about – well, the environment. Some people even confused it with ‘saving the trees’, ‘saving the animals’, or ‘saving wildlife’. Many conservationists nowadays know better. We’ve learnt that the environment has been shaped and nurtured by the many indigenous and local people who revere it, care for it and ultimately depend on its resources for their survival. Focusing on saving the environment, or wildlife, alone is meaningless if we don’t take into account the forest-dependent or sea-dependent peoples who are critical in ensuring nature’s well-being – and for whom, in turn, nature is a critical part of their lives. Sometimes they can be a part of the problem, but often they can be part of the solution too. This is why more conservationists need to start recognising the important role played by indigenous peoples in conservation, and also start considering and incorporating indigenous peoples in conservation efforts. Continue reading

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Publication update 11: All about tapirs

tapir

Reuben’s and Sheema’s latest publications are all about the Asian Tapir (Tapirus indicus). Compared to its New World counterparts, the only tapir species to be found in the Old World is relatively poorly studied. Despite its striking appearance, its distribution in Peninsular Malaysia is still largely based on guesswork rather than in-depth, long-term research. Scientists have also been unable to get an accurate idea of its population size.

These two papers published in Integrative Zoology aren’t part of Rimba’s work though; they’re the product of a research collaboration led by WWF-Malaysia that is the first attempt in the country to identify tapir individuals based on their specific black-and-white markings. Continue reading

Toolbox update 4: Camera-trapping large tropical mammals

Like the fantastic wildlife photos we’ve been capturing through our camera-trapping work?? Well, using a camera-trap can seem daunting at first, but it’s easily learned, and constant practice will help you hone your skills in no time. We at Rimba owe our camera-trapping experience to our dedicated and hardworking wildlife biologist friends over at WWF-Malaysia. Having carried out biodiversity monitoring work in Peninsular Malaysia since 2005, these tireless field scientists have scoured miles and miles of inhospitable terrain and camped out in dense jungle for weeks at a stretch, all in search of that perfect camera-trap location to obtain valuable evidence of elusive wildlife. They’re now one of the most experienced and knowledgeable researchers when it comes to camera-trapping large mammals in tropical rainforests.

These guys have had plenty of opportunity to develop their skills, and their hard work paid off when one of their camera-trap photos won the BBC Wildlife Magazine’s Camera-trap Photo of the Year in 2010. Happily for the rest of us, they’ve decided to use their vast experience to help out fellow researchers.  Continue reading