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© WWF-Malaysia/Sharon Koh

WWF-Malaysia’s main method of carrying out scientific surveys is with the use of camera-traps which are basically automated heat detecting cameras that snap pictures of anything emitting heat that passes in front of it.

Since each tiger’s stripe pattern is unique, these camera-trap photographs can be used to identify individual tigers and consequently tiger numbers are estimated through a robust statistical framework. These numbers serve as baseline information for us to measure the effectiveness of our conservation interventions when re-monitoring is done.

Our research can also be used to understand the response of tigers and their prey towards human induced disturbances and to identify important patches of forest that need to be safeguarded. For example, our research in the corridor along the Gerik-Jeli Highway that bisects Belum Temengor in 2011 showed that some patches of forest were highly used by tigers and prey compared to others and therefore are in critical need of being safeguarded from conversion.

This contributed to highlighting the importance of conserving the area to the state government, which laudably gazetted this state land forest into as Amanjaya Forest Reserve in 2013.