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CONSERVATION AND RESEARCH UNIT

  • OVERVIEW

Fuze Ecoteer has been supporting the work of the Malayan Rainforest Station (MRS) since 2013. In September 2018, MRS split its project into two key components – Conservation and Research Unit and Community Development & Empowerment. This enabled MRS to focus on establishing its research credibility, and also allowed for more focused initiatives in local wildlife conservation, raising awareness and introducing capacity building programs. Collaboration is the key to MRS's success, hence they work closely with Universities and local Wildlife agencies.

LOCATION

MRS is focusing their initiatives in Merapoh, which is a small hub town with several neighbouring villages in Lipis district of north Pahang, Malaysia. Little is known about its origins, but the written record suggests that the town was established around 1929, aided by close ties between families who migrated from nearby rural areas and villages, and also due to Islamic faith among locals.

The town is surrounded by a myriad of uniquely formed limestone hills, outcrops/caves with large internal structures and carvings, which makes it a popular attraction for both local and foreign visitors. Besides, these natural structures are also significantly valuable for scientific research and making discoveries; fossilized remains of Early Triassic species was discovered recently at a limestone hill in Merapoh. 

Most importantly, the Merapoh area and its surrounding forest complexes are part of the CFS-PL1 – an area of special interest and is considered as one of the most crucial linkage connecting two of the main forest complex in Peninsular Malaysia, Taman Negara National Park and the Main Titiwangsa Range. Both forest complexes are part of the tropical and montane rainforest ecosystems, a treasure trove for flora and fauna biodiversity. As such, Taman Negara is home to a wide range of species, and even rare mammals such as the Malayan tiger, Malayan tapir, Asian elephant, and majestic birds such as the Malayan peacock-pheasant and the Great Argus Pheasant, which are still found here in good numbers. 
 
The Sungai Yu wildlife corridor is also a part of the CFS-PL1 area, which functions as a passage, a gateway for different faunal species to access different habitats for food, shelter, mating, territorial rights, etc., which contributes to their persistence – more genetic variation and diversity within the region. Similarly, when the corridor is used by animals, they can also act as pollinators assisting with seed dispersal of wild flowers and plants.  
  • WHO WE ARE

 MRS focuses on its initiative to promote conservation & research efforts thorough evidence-based data and active participation by local communities as a hollistic approach.

In the past, MRS focused on conducting regular anti-poaching patrols within the Sungai Yu wildlife corridor. While this is still relevent at present, nevertheless, MRS hopes to conduct its project activities that will complement and build on its existing work, especially in creating more research collaborations with universities and government stakeholders as well as to capacity build local communities to empower them with awareness, knowledge and skills to be the forest guardians. 

OUR WORK

UPCOMING RESEARCH

Photo credit: Dr. Raju Kasambe [CC-BY-SA 4.0:Wikimedia Commons]

THE CLOUDED LEOPARD PROJECT

MRS plans to conduct a long-term ecological and population study on the Mainland Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) in the Merapoh Forest Complex. Although the study species is listed as Vulnerable, little is known about their natural history or ecology, since most studies generally tend to focus on more charismatic and flagship species.

Hence, there is a crucial need for our research at this stage; to understand the ecology and population status of the clouded leopard for the implementation of better conservation strategies and raising awareness in Malaysia. MRS plan to collect data using camera traps, which is a non-intrusive and unbiased method to record animal presence and activity. They will also collect scats for our dietary analysis of the study species.

Checklist and Diversity of Herpetofauna in Merapoh

Currently, there are lack of recorded collections or past studies on the list of amphibian and reptile species found in Merapoh. Hence, MRS plan to conduct surveys to compile a list of all Herpetofauna that can be found in the area. The identification records are compiled for their herpetological collection, and further to conduct research and publications.

Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros Rhinoceros) Project

MRS plan to study and record observational data on the parental behaviour of the Rhinoceros Hornbill in a fragmented forest patch surrounded by agroforested plantations. Their local indigenous guide has kindly assisted them in finding the location of the Rhinoceros Hornbill Nest, and will continue finding more nests to be observed in the future. As Hornbills rarely visit disturbed sites and plantations, this creates an opportunity for the MRS team to study more on the effect of land-use change to Hornbill nesting behaviors. If you are interested to learn more about this species, click here

Photo credit: Stefan Fussan [CC-BY-SA 3.0:Wikimedia Commons]

CONSERVATION

ANTI-POACHING PATROLS

MRS conducted regular patrol within the CFS-PL1 area to collect data on encroachment activities and animal signs that utilizes the area. All data will be shared with the respective authorities and MRS plan to explore new routes and areas within the site to cover a bigger scale that is crucial for conservation of CFS-PL1.

Community Conservation Area (CCA)

MRS is aiming to set up a CCA managed by the local community on their initiative. The CCA could be owned or leased to the locals, which can result in better on-site management via local poaching surveillance and patrols. Also, CCA can be used to generate income through ecotourism and trading of forest goods and services. 

Currently, MRS is in the process of creating a forest usage map for establishing a CCA. Here, they will be recording the movement of the local indigenous tribe, the Bateq people in the forest, along with mapping different areas with wildflowers and plants that have medicinal value, or research potential. MRS is currently working with Dr Suganthi from University Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) to investigate the usage of wild ginger in traditional medicine used by the Bateq.

COLLABORATION & CAPACITY BUILDING INITIATIVES

MRS values collaboration and partnerships, hence they work with multiple research institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government authorities in terms of promoting their conservation and research efforts. At the end of 2018, MRS hosted undergraduate and postgraduate students from Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) to conduct their research on flying squirrels (Sciuridae) and bats (Chiroptera). Also, the current MRS team comprises of undergraduate students from University Malaysia Terengganu (UMT).  

BATEQ CAPACITY BUILDING (BCB)

MRS is in the process of starting its BCB program, where they will train a few members of the Bateq to build field surveying and conservation skills, i.e., species identification, scientific approaches for data collection using GPS and camera traps, and basic data analyses and data implementation. MRS aims to combine both the Malay and the Bateq to conduct joint anti-poaching surveillance and patrols while assessing the methodology for any issues or improvements.

CHOCOLATE PRODUCTION

MRS will also explore the Agroforestry initiative – the prospect of producing chocolate products from both upstream sustainable cocoa plantations to downstream chocolate production. The establishment of this initiative could mean the expansion of the project station to provide a healthier and more conducive environment for the project staff and volunteers.

OUR ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2018

We conducted anti-poaching patrols and surveillance.

126 hrs patrolled on foot
50 hrs patrolled by car
144 kms covered on foot
311 kms covered by car
0 hrs
invested in anti-poaching patrols.
0 kms
of distance covered while on patrols.

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CHOOSE YOUR PROJECT

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PAY THE DEPOSIT

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