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Citizen Action for Tigers

The Malayan tiger population has undergone a precipitous fall in the last 60 years. Current estimates indicate that there are less than 300 tigers left in the wild spread over large tracts of forest across the Malay Peninsula. The greatest threat to their survival is poaching for the illegal trade in wildlife parts. Poachers predominantly from Indochina work with local middlemen to harvest and profit from the trade. Habitat loss, prey depletion and conflict with humans are also exacerbating the problem.

WRS supports the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MyCAT) to recruit volunteer citizen conservationists to monitor the Sungai Yu River Wildlife Corridor. This area is an important conduit between Taman Negara National Park and the Main Range, which are the two largest tiger landscapes in Malaysia. All volunteers are prepared for the role with field training on the conservation rationale for the walks, safe movement in forests, tracking, finding snares, emergency action protocols, camping and managing human wildlife encounters. More importantly, CAT Walkers serve as ‘ambassadors’ of wildlife and can raise awareness about the plight of tigers among the broader community.

Left: CAT walkers on their patrol
Right: Malayan tiger caught on camera trap

Ecology of the sun bear within a fragmented landscape

Wildlife Reserves Singapore supported a study to investigate how sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) use a highly fragmented environment in Malaysian Borneo. The study site was the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary and the human altered landscapes directly surrounding it in the Malaysian state of Sabah. Using collars and satellite as well as radio telemetry this study looks to understand the importance of forest corridors for ranging and food sources. The impact of oil palm plantations on the movement, foraging and activity patterns of sun bears will also be evaluated. The results of this study helped in the identification of critical resources enabling sun bears survival in fragmented habitat.

Left: Sun bear caught on camera trap in the study site
Right: Sun bear being fitted with a GPS collar

Using conservation drones for the study and conservation of Malaysian elephants and their habitats

Observing and studying elephants in tropical rainforests can sometimes prove to be challenging, so Management & Ecology of Malaysian Elephants (MEME) has developed a way to overcome this challenge by using conservation drones, a relatively cheap and highly effective new conservation tool. Wildlife Reserves Singapore funded MEME in the development of these conservation drones which offered the visibility that traditional GPS-satellite collars lack, and allowed scientists to better study elephant habitat utilisation patterns and their social behaviour.


Left: Releasing a conservation drone
Right: Picture of an oil palm field taken by a conservation drone.

Effects of Fragmentation on the Long-term Survival of the Proboscis Monkeys

Wildlife Reserves Singapore has been committed to Proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) conservation since 2004, when the first comprehensive statewide survey of the species’ population and conservation status was conducted in Sabah, East Malaysia. Proboscis monkeys are “Endangered” and endemic to the island of Borneo. The species is a habitat specialist that is adapted to live mainly in swamp forests along rivers but these habitats are increasingly lost and fragmented through logging and rapid forest conversion for agriculture like oil palm. Trends of habitat loss observed a decade on indicate that the species may be declining more rapidly than expected.

At the XXIV International Primatological Society Congress Meeting in 2012, increasing threats to the Proboscis monkey was recognized with the species listed amongst 16 highly threatened species. WRS supported a study to reassess the status and extinction risk of proboscis monkeys in Sabah, East Malaysia and Balikpapan Bay, Kalimantan to strengthen our current understanding of the conservation status of the proboscis monkey and improve efforts for the conservation of the species.

Top: Proboscis monkey live mainly in swampy habitats along rivers.
Bottom: Habitat loss and fragmentation due to conversion of proboscis monkey habitats to palm oil plantations.

Using Camera-Traps to study the Social Organization and Demographic Parameters of Wild Elephants in Malaysian Rainforest

Wildlife Reserves Singapore is financially supported Management & Ecology of Malaysian Elephants (MEME) on a project using Camera-Traps to study the Social Organization and Demographic Parameters of Wild Elephants in Malaysian Rainforest. This project was the first project to study social organization of Asian elephants in tropical rainforest. The project used camera traps to identify individual animals visiting mineral licks in Belum-Temengor Forest Complex, Perak, Malaysia, in order to study the social organization of elephant groups in the forest. The demographic parameters of the population, and the frequency of visit to mineral licks was documented. This provided us with information on group size, age and sex class distribution, and stability of groups among wild Malaysian elephants. The results of this study can be used to design the desirable composition of Asian elephant social groups in captivity.

Left: Setting up camera traps
Right: Herd photographed in camera traps