Special update: Good news from the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor

Hello all,

This playful dusky leaf langur (Trachypithecus obscurus), which was caught on a camera trap in the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor last week, was all smiles probably because it knew of some good news coming our way. WHAT IS IT??

The first piece of good news is that the Terengganu state government has decided to freeze development along the Kuala Berang highway bisecting the proposed Kenyir Wildlife Corridor, pending recommendations from environmental consultants working for the federal government. These recommendations are to be submitted by the end of the year.

This decision was reached after we shared our research findings in Kenyir with Dato’ Toh Chin Yaw, Terengganu Chairman of Industry, Trade and Environment Committee, Terengganu State Government. Many thanks to Dato’ Toh for sharing the pictures and videos of Kenyir’s biodiversity with other government officials. Yesterday, this piece of great news was covered by a local news portal, fz.com.

The second piece of good news is that we finally got a  camera-trap picture of the elusive seladang or gaur (Bos gaurus) after 2 years of field work in the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor! We only recorded a single individual, which was detected by two separate cameras.

Although we still have a lot to do to secure protection for the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor, we are working closely with the state government to implement our recommendations. For now, we would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the wonderful people who have supported the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor project. Special thanks also go to Anuar McAfee for helping and working with us on this (Anuar also helped us get the flying foxes protected). Stay tuned for more updates!

* Update 8 November 2012: More extensive coverage, from the very excellent Mongabay: click here!

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Photo update 9: Just how important is the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor?

Between 1999 and 2001, Dr Kae Kawanishi recorded 40  mammal species (including humans) on camera traps during her surveys  in Peninsular Malaysia’s largest protected area in Taman Negara.

It’s now 2012. So far, researchers in Rimba have recorded at least 38 mammal species on camera traps in the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor (~170 sq km), which is around 4% of Taman Negara’s size!  Of the total species count (from camera traps, sightings and tracks), 6 are ‘endangered’ and 9 are ‘vulnerable’ according to the IUCN Red List.

The selectively logged forests within this corridor are vital habitats for Malaysia’s threatened mammals. However, many of them, such as Rimba’s mascot below, face an uncertain future in Kenyir.

Habitat loss (for dam construction and eco-tourism infrastructure) and poaching currently threaten the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor.  This is the only area in Terengganu  where mammals and other wildlife can still cross from Taman Negara towards the forests in Hulu Terengganu. We hope the Terengganu State Government will spare important areas of the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor from further development, and gazette it as Malaysia’s first official Wildlife Corridor!

We now have the latest list of mammal species in Kenyir, as well as recent camera trap photos that depict the five endangered species, their threats, and the signs of hope for Kenyir. Continue reading

Project update 8: Two Wildlife Corridor Projects!

Hi Rimba friends, the Kenyir Wildlife Corridor Project finally has a new update to share with you!

What have we been up to? Well for a start, we’ve found ourselves a new research station in the town of Gerik (Perak). Why do we need one there? This is because Reuben and Ahimsa are teaming up to start a new project in another wildlife corridor, near the town. Many thanks to Steven for getting the field house operational – it was quite difficult because the entire town of Gerik had no water supply for a week due to a landslide that took out a water treatment plant! But things are almost back to normal and the field station is 95% operational.

Our ‘other’ field house in Taman Gerik
Jet, the official field house cat and Rimba’s unofficial mascot
Jet is very possessive when it comes to our computer keyboards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheema has been helping the team catalogue more than 130,000 camera-trap photos from Kenyir into a software known as Camera Base. Although the cataloguing is far from over, we can tell you at least 32 mammal species have been camera-trapped so far – this is similar to the number of mammals recorded from camera-trap surveys in Malaysia’s largest protected area, Taman Negara. And this corridor is only 1% of Taman Negara’s size!

So is this the end of our work in Kenyir?  Continue reading