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

Publication update 5: Asian tapirs are no elephants…

Captive tapir

…especially when it comes to seed dispersal. Back in March, we highlighted two publications by Ahimsa which look at the role megafauna such as elephants play in shaping our forests. This time, Ahimsa’s looking at a slightly smaller – though still large – herbivore: the Asian Tapir. We’ve already mentioned before how Reuben and Sheema have been involved in a tapir population study. Ahimsa, on the other hand, has been specifically investigating tapir diet and feeding behaviour to find out if they play a role similar to that of elephants. After all, studies in South and Central America have suggested that New World tapirs might be important seed dispersers over there. But, that’s in a world where there are no elephants. So the question Ahimsa is asking is: If elephants disappear, could tapirs step in to fill their big shoes? Continue reading