WWF-Malaysia produced a report entitled “The status of tigers and their prey in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex” , which summarized findings from the ecological study on tigers conducted in Belum-Temengor along with relevant conservation recommendations. This report is the result of the first comprehensive camera-trapping study conducted within this landscape, and highlights the importance of Belum-Temengor for tigers and other large mammals.
Based on the findings of this report, WWF-Malaysia worked with government agencies to finalize the location of a viaduct for animals to cross the Gerik-Jeli Highway, which the government committed to in 2011. The presence of this wildlife viaduct will further ensure the connectivity of the larger forest blocks in the complex; Royal Belum State Park and Temengor Forest Reserve.
An ecological study on tigers and their prey was carried out in Gunung Basor Forest Reserve and Gunong Stong Utara Forest Reserve, Kelantan. The preliminary results indicate that the tiger population has shown a significant decline from the last survey conducted in Gunung Basor Forest Reserve in 2004-2005. These findings were communicated to the government agencies, and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks have indicated that they will increase their patrolling as a result of this.
As part of the consultancy team engaged by the Northern Corridor Implementation Agency, WWF-Malaysia prepared a Biodiversity Assessment report for the Belum-Temengor forest. This report forms a major component of the Integrated Master Plan for Belum- Temengor commissioned by this agency. It is a holistic plan that will guide sustainable tourism development at Belum-Temengor with minimal impacts on the natural ecosystems of this critical biodiversity conservation area.
WWF-Malaysia and the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia jointly launched a 160-page reference book entitled “Islam, Pemuliharaan Hidupan Liar dan Anda” on July 2012. The book underpins environmental consciousness and stewardship, namely in wildlife protection and conservation, according to the teachings of Islam. Special focus is given to Malaysia’s national icons, which includes the tiger. This book is the first of its kind in Malaysia.
© WWF-Malaysia / Lau Ching Fong
Discussing potential viaduct locations during a site visit with ...
© WWF-Malaysia / Rahana Husin
The book launch of 'Islam, Conservation and You' at the Institute ...
© WWF-Malaysia / Christopher Wong
A tiger camera-trapped in Gunung Basor Forest Reserve
After six years of advocacy and lobbying by WWF-Malaysia, as well as other partners of the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers, the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 was passed in Parliament mid last year. This new act contains stiffer penalties, both mandatory and custodial, with fines up to RM500,000 and jail sentences for offences related to totally protected animals such as the tiger. The act has been in force as of July 2011.
During fieldwork conducted in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex, one of WWF-Malaysia’s field staff came across a total of 12 active wire snares in two days. Based on the size of the wire, it is thought that the snares were set to target large mammals such as tigers. A snared sun bear was also photographed via camera-trap, with one of its front paws missing. These cases were subsequently highlighted in the local media, and emphasized the need for additional enforcement in the area.
The ecological study on tigers and their prey in Royal Belum State Park was completed, and baseline data on tiger population density was established. A survey was also conducted along the state land forest adjacent to the Gerik-Jeli Highway, in order to identify important corridors for tigers and other large mammal species.
In conjunction with the lunar Year of the Tiger, WWF-Malaysia launched the “TX2: Double or Nothing!” campaign, aimed at gathering funds and raising public awareness to help to double the number of tiger by the next Year of the Tiger in 2022. The campaign was launched with a tiger face-painting event, which successfully brought attention on the Malaysia’s National Tiger Conservation Action Plan and the plight of our endangered Malayan tigers, with coverage in local as well as international media.
The Wildlife Protection Unit that was established by WWF-Malaysia in 2007 in Jeli, Kelantan, has been officially registered as a society called ‘Lubok Bongor Conservation, Cultural, Social and Welfare Society’. This unit was originally set up to help reduce human-wildlife conflict, especially human-elephant conflict in the area through night patrolling. However, it has since expanded its wings to spreading awareness through ‘dikir barat’, a popular Malay cultural performance and a medium for community outreach.
The ecological study on tigers and their prey in Temengor Forest Reserve was completed, and baseline data on tiger population density was established. Preliminary results indicate that populations of large tiger prey species such as sambar deer and gaur, are low. The field team is commencing to conduct a similar scientific study in Royal Belum State Park.
WWF-Malaysia’s field team stumbled across a snared tiger during their surveys along the forests adjacent to the Gerik-Jeli Highway, which bisects the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex. Authorities were informed immediately and the tiger was rescued in an operation by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. The 120 kg male tiger was taken to Malacca Zoo for further treatment, but unfortunately succumbed to its injuries about two weeks after it was rescued. From December 2008 to early 2010, WWF-Malaysia’s field team deactivated 141 snares found within the area, highlighting the threat of poaching to wildlife in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex.
At least 73 snares were destroyed by WWF-Malaysia and enforcement agencies within the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex, and nine poachers/traders were arrested as a result of regular patrols. In addition, WWF-Malaysia staff provided information that resulted in the destruction of a camp set up by Cambodian encroachers.
The Department of Wildlife and National Parks and WWF-Malaysia collaborated to conduct the second phase of the “Defenders of Nature” programme, specifically targeted at the Malaysian Army Second Division. By targeting this Division, it was hoped that the army’s awareness on conservation issues would increase, especially in the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex. This programme, which targeted 50 officers leading their respective platoons in the field, introduced theories and concepts of environmental conservation.
A paper entitled “The importance of selectively logged forests for tiger Panthera tigris conservation: A population density estimate from Peninsular Malaysia ” was published in the international peer-reviewed journal, Oryx. This paper provides the first estimate of tiger densities within a logged forest in Peninsular Malaysia, and was highlighted in the local media. A report entitled “A general guide to camera-trapping large mammals in tropical rainforests, with particular reference to tigers” was also developed for forest managers and field biologists interested in using camera-traps to estimate the abundance of large mammals, especially tigers. Meanwhile, an intensive ecological study on tiger and its prey kicked off in Temengor Forest Reserve. The study aims to obtain information on tiger population density and its prey abundance to provide much-needed baseline data for the area.
The Kelantan Islamic Affairs Department and the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia joined forces with WWF-Malaysia in having an awareness-raising programme targeting religious leaders to support wildlife conservation, in order to elevate the communities’ concern and awareness on conservation issues. Meanwhile, approximately 1,600 secondary students were reached out to via awareness talks to four secondary schools in the district of Jeli.
Reconnaissance surveys were continued in Temengor Forest Reserve, and also expanded to Gunung Basor Forest Reserve and a couple of other areas. Tiger sign was found in several of the areas surveyed, and footage of other endangered wildlife was also obtained.
A report from the ecological study on tigers in Gunung Basor Forest Reserve was completed, entitled “Tiger monitoring study in Gunung Basor Forest Reserve, Jeli, Kelantan”. Findings from this study indicate that the tiger density in Jeli could possibly be higher than that from Taman Negara National Park and therefore highlights the equal importance of conserving such logged-over forest for tigers and other large mammals. A few reconnaissance surveys were also conducted in Temengor Forest Reserve, part of the Belum-Temengor Forest Complex where WWF-Malaysia intends to focus on. Video and camera-trapping activities in Temengor Forest Reserve have yielded rare footage of tigers and other endangered wildlife, such as the Malayan sun bear and wild dog. Information from these surveys will help guide the field team when intensive surveys are conducted in the future.
WWF-Malaysia’s tiger conservation efforts in Jeli were featured in the documentary series “Planet Action” by the Animal Planet Channel. Volunteers from around the world joined WWF-Malaysia‘s tiger conservation work by building a paddock for cattle and setting up camera-traps in the forest to see how tigers are faring in the nearby forests. A video-trap set in Jeli also captured what is thought to be the first known video footage of the Malayan tiger in the wild.
The ecological study on tigers in Gunung Basor Forest Reserve was successfully completed. This is only the second ecological study on tigers conducted in Peninsular Malaysia, and the first within a logged forest. Aside from tigers, a variety of other mammals were recorded during the study. However, large tiger prey species such as sambar deer and gaur were not photographed.
In Jeli, WWF-Malaysia stepped in to find solutions to resolve the alarming number of tiger conflicts in this district, which had the most cases of tiger attacks on humans in Malaysia. WWF-Malaysia began to put in more efforts into improving wildlife management at the policy level and called for better protection of tiger habitats, in collaboration with the relevant government agencies.
WWF-Malaysia also commenced the first ecological study on tigers in Gunung Basor Forest Reserve, which is located within the district of Jeli. A small team of two people (one field biologist and one local assistant) started camera-trapping work to assess the status of the tigers in the area.