Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

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Stark D.J.,University of Cardiff | Vaughan I.P.,University of Cardiff | Saldivar D.A.R.,Wisma Muis | Nathan S.K.S.S.,University of Cardiff | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2017

The development of GPS tags for tracking wildlife has revolutionised the study of home ranges, habitat use and behaviour. Concomitantly, there have been rapid developments in methods for estimating habitat use from GPS data. In combination, these changes can cause challenges in choosing the best methods for estimating home ranges. In primatology, this issue has received little attention, as there have been few GPS collar-based studies to date. However, as advancing technology is making collaring studies more feasible, there is a need for the analysis to advance alongside the technology. Here, using a high quality GPS collaring data set from 10 proboscis monkeys (Nasalis larvatus), we aimed to: 1) compare home range estimates from the most commonly used method in primatology, the grid-cell method, with three recent methods designed for large and/or temporally correlated GPS data sets; 2) evaluate how well these methods identify known physical barriers (e.g. rivers); and 3) test the robustness of the different methods to data containing either less frequent or random losses of GPS fixes. Biased random bridges had the best overall performance, combining a high level of agreement between the raw data and estimated utilisation distribution with a relatively low sensitivity to reduced fixed frequency or loss of data. It estimated the home range of proboscis monkeys to be 24-165 ha (mean 80.89 ha). The grid-cell method and approaches based on local convex hulls had some advantages including simplicity and excellent barrier identification, respectively, but lower overall performance. With the most suitable model, or combination of models, it is possible to understand more fully the patterns, causes, and potential consequences that disturbances could have on an animal, and accordingly be used to assist in the management and restoration of degraded landscapes. © 2017 Stark et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Gregory S.D.,University of Adelaide | Brook B.W.,University of Adelaide | Goossens B.,University of Cardiff | Goossens B.,Danau Girang Field Center | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Southeast Asian deforestation rates are among the world's highest and threaten to drive many forest-dependent species to extinction. Climate change is expected to interact with deforestation to amplify this risk. Here we examine whether regional incentives for sustainable forest management will be effective in improving threatened mammal conservation, in isolation and when combined with global climate change mitigation. Methodology/Principal Findings: Using a long time-series of orangutan nest counts for Sabah (2000-10), Malaysian Borneo, we evaluated the effect of sustainable forest management and climate change scenarios, and their interaction, on orangutan spatial abundance patterns. By linking dynamic land-cover and downscaled global climate model projections, we determine the relative influence of these factors on orangutan spatial abundance and use the resulting statistical models to identify habitat crucial for their long-term conservation. We show that land-cover change the degradation of primary forest had the greatest influence on orangutan population size. Anticipated climate change was predicted to cause reductions in abundance in currently occupied populations due to decreased habitat suitability, but also to promote population growth in western Sabah by increasing the suitability of presently unoccupied regions. Conclusions/Significance: We find strong quantitative support for the Sabah government's proposal to implement sustainable forest management in all its forest reserves during the current decade; failure to do so could result in a 40 to 80 per cent regional decline in orangutan abundance by 2100. The Sabah orangutan is just one (albeit iconic) example of a forest-dependent species that stands to benefit from sustainable forest management, which promotes conservation of existing forests. © 2012 Gregory et al.


Alfred R.,World Wildlife Fund | Alfred R.,Universiti Malaysia Sabah | Ahmad A.H.,Universiti Malaysia Sabah | Payne J.,Universiti Malaysia Sabah | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Home range is defined as the extent and location of the area covered annually by a wild animal in its natural habitat. Studies of African and Indian elephants in landscapes of largely open habitats have indicated that the sizes of the home range are determined not only by the food supplies and seasonal changes, but also by numerous other factors including availability of water sources, habitat loss and the existence of man-made barriers. The home range size for the Bornean elephant had never been investigated before. Methodology/Principal Findings: The first satellite tracking program to investigate the movement of wild Bornean elephants in Sabah was initiated in 2005. Five adult female elephants were immobilized and neck collars were fitted with tracking devices. The sizes of their home range and movement patterns were determined using location data gathered from a satellite tracking system and analyzed by using the Minimum Convex Polygon and Harmonic Mean methods. Home range size was estimated to be 250 to 400 km 2 in a non-fragmented forest and 600 km 2 in a fragmented forest. The ranging behavior was influenced by the size of the natural forest habitat and the availability of permanent water sources. The movement pattern was influenced by human disturbance and the need to move from one feeding site to another. Conclusions/Significance: Home range and movement rate were influenced by the degree of habitat fragmentation. Once habitat was cleared or converted, the availability of food plants and water sources were reduced, forcing the elephants to travel to adjacent forest areas. Therefore movement rate in fragmented forest was higher than in the non-fragmented forest. Finally, in fragmented habitat human and elephant conflict occurrences were likely to be higher, due to increased movement bringing elephants into contact more often with humans. © 2012 Alfred et al.


PubMed | Technological Educational Institute of Kavala, Borneo Conservation Trust, C H Williams, University of Kent and 9 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) aims to avoid forest conversion to alternative land-uses through financial incentives. Oil-palm has high opportunity costs, which according to current literature questions the financial competitiveness of REDD+ in tropical lowlands. To understand this more, we undertook regional fine-scale and coarse-scale analyses (through carbon mapping and economic modelling) to assess the financial viability of REDD+ in safeguarding unprotected forest (30,173 ha) in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain in Malaysian Borneo. Results estimate 4.7 million metric tons of carbon (MgC) in unprotected forest, with 64% allocated for oil-palm cultivations. Through fine-scale mapping and carbon accounting, we demonstrated that REDD+ can outcompete oil-palm in regions with low suitability, with low carbon prices and low carbon stock. In areas with medium oil-palm suitability, REDD+ could outcompete oil palm in areas with: very high carbon and lower carbon price; medium carbon price and average carbon stock; or, low carbon stock and high carbon price. Areas with high oil palm suitability, REDD+ could only outcompete with higher carbon price and higher carbon stock. In the coarse-scale model, oil-palm outcompeted REDD+ in all cases. For the fine-scale models at the landscape level, low carbon offset prices (US $3 MgCO2e) would enable REDD+ to outcompete oil-palm in 55% of the unprotected forests requiring US $27 million to secure these areas for 25 years. Higher carbon offset price (US $30 MgCO2e) would increase the competitiveness of REDD+ within the landscape but would still only capture between 69%-74% of the unprotected forest, requiring US $380-416 million in carbon financing. REDD+ has been identified as a strategy to mitigate climate change by many countries (including Malaysia). Although REDD+ in certain scenarios cannot outcompete oil palm, this research contributes to the global REDD+ debate by: highlighting REDD+ competitiveness in tropical floodplain landscapes; and, providing a robust approach for identifying and targeting limited REDD+ funds.


Gillespie G.R.,University of Melbourne | Ahmad E.,Kinabatangan Orang utan Conservation Programme | Elahan B.,Kinabatangan Orang utan Conservation Programme | Evans A.,University of Cardiff | And 4 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2012

The impact of degradation of Southeast Asian rainforests and conversion to oil palm plantations on amphibians is unknown. To assess the relative value of secondary forests, oil palm plantations and other non-forest habitats for amphibian conservation, we evaluated amphibian species richness and assemblage composition in secondary lowland forests, compared with oil palm plantations and other non-forest habitats, along the Lower Kinabatangan River, eastern Sabah, Malaysia. Secondary forests retained a large proportion of amphibian species known from lowland primary rainforests. Species richness was higher in secondary forest habitats compared to oil palm plantations and other non-forest habitats. Secondary forests retained a much higher proportion of endemic species than non-forest habitats. We found strong differentiation between the frog assemblages in forest, non-forest and plantation sites. Oil palm plantations retained no microhylid species, few arboreal species and were dominated by habitat generalist and human commensal species. Our findings suggest that, despite a history of disturbance and degradation, remnant secondary forests may play an important role in conserving lowland amphibian diversity. In contrast, oil palm plantations have comparatively low conservation value for amphibians. Our study highlights the value of setting aside adequate areas of representative forest habitats within agricultural landscapes in order to conserve biodiversity, even when those remnants have a history of prior disturbance. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Nater A.,University of Zürich | Nietlisbach P.,University of Zürich | Arora N.,University of Zürich | Van Schaik C.P.,University of Zürich | And 11 more authors.
Molecular Biology and Evolution | Year: 2011

The Southeast Asian Sunda archipelago harbors a rich biodiversity with a substantial proportion of endemic species. The evolutionary history of these species has been drastically influenced by environmental forces, such as fluctuating sea levels, climatic changes, and severe volcanic activities. Orangutans (genus: Pongo), the only Asian great apes, are well suited to study the relative impact of these forces due to their well-documented behavioral ecology, strict habitat requirements, and exceptionally slow life history. We investigated the phylogeographic patterns and evolutionary history of orangutans in the light of the complex geological and climatic history of the Sunda archipelago. Our study is based on the most extensive genetic sampling to date, covering the entire range of extant orangutan populations. Using data from three mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genes from 112 wild orangutans, we show that Sumatran orangutans, Pongo abelii, are paraphyletic with respect to Bornean orangutans (P. pygmaeus), the only other currently recognized species within this genus. The deepest split in the mtDNA phylogeny of orangutans occurs across the Toba caldera in northern Sumatra and, not as expected, between both islands. Until the recent past, the Toba region has experienced extensive volcanic activity, which has shaped the current phylogeographic patterns. Like their Bornean counterparts, Sumatran orangutans exhibit a strong, yet previously undocumented structuring into four geographical clusters. However, with 3.50 Ma, the Sumatran haplotypes have a much older coalescence than their Bornean counterparts (178 kya). In sharp contrast to the mtDNA data, 18 Y-chromosomal polymorphisms show a much more recent coalescence within Sumatra compared with Borneo. Moreover, the deep geographic structure evident in mtDNA is not reflected in the male population history, strongly suggesting male-biased dispersal. We conclude that volcanic activities have played an important role in the evolutionary history of orangutans and potentially of many other forest-dwelling Sundaland species. Furthermore, we demonstrate that a strong sex bias in dispersal can lead to conflicting patterns in uniparentally inherited markers even at a genus-wide scale, highlighting the need for a combined usage of maternally and paternally inherited marker systems in phylogenetic studies. © 2011 The Author Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved.


Kai Z.,CAS Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden | Kai Z.,CAS Kunming Institute of Zoology | Woan T.S.,CAS Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden | Woan T.S.,Danau Girang Field Center | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

The value of local ecological knowledge (LEK) to conservation is increasingly recognised, but LEK is being rapidly lost as indigenous livelihoods change. Biodiversity loss is also a driver of the loss of LEK, but quantitative study is lacking. In our study landscape in SW China, a large proportion of species have been extirpated. Hence, we were interested to understand whether species extirpation might have led to an erosion of LEK and the implications this might have for conservation. So we investigated peoples' ability to name a selection of birds and mammals in their local language from pictures. Age was correlated to frequency of forest visits as a teenager and is likely to be closely correlated to other known drivers of the loss of LEK, such as declining forest dependence. We found men were better at identifying birds overall and that older people were better able to identify birds to the species as compared to group levels (approximately equivalent to genus). The effect of age was also stronger among women. However, after controlling for these factors, species abundance was by far the most important parameter in determining peoples' ability to name birds. People were unable to name any locally extirpated birds at the species level. However, contrary to expectations, people were better able to identify extirpated mammals at the species level than extant ones. However, extirpated mammals tend to be more charismatic species and several respondents indicated they were only familiar with them through TV documentaries. Younger people today cannot experience the sights and sounds of forest animals that their parents grew up with and, consequently, knowledge of these species is passing from cultural memory. We suggest that engaging older members of the community and linking the preservation of LEK to biodiversity conservation may help generate support for conservation. © 2014 Kai et al.


Munds R.A.,University of Missouri | Ali R.,Danau Girang Field Center | Ali R.,Universiti Malaysia Sabah | Nijman V.,Oxford Brookes University | And 3 more authors.
Endangered Species Research | Year: 2014

Throughout much of Asia, slow lorises (Nycticebus) and tarsiers (Tarsius) live allopatrically, but on several islands, including Sumatra and Borneo, they occur in sympatry. Dwindling habitats could result in resource competition within these sympatric populations, as the diets of these species overlap. To assess the possibility of resource competition, we gathered data from the literature on the abundance and microhabitat structure of slow loris and tarsier species throughout their ranges. We also estimated abundances of Bornean lorises Nycticebus menagensis and western tarsiers Tarsius bancanus borneanus and investigated their habitat use in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. We predicted that species living sympatrically would favor different heights, and thus different microhabitat structures from congeners, and have lower abundances compared with allopatric species because of limiting factors. Across their ranges, loris density did not vary regardless of whether they were allopatric or sympatric. However, across sympatric and allopatric tarsier ranges, there were significant differences in densities (sympatric: 3-27 ind. km-2, allopatric: 57-268 ind. km-2). Microhabitat use varied significantly between sympatric and allopatric loris populations (p = 0.036) but not between sympatric and allopatric tarsier populations. Our results, although based on a limited amount of data, suggest that tarsiers are impacted by the presence of slow lorises in their habits, and these populations should be monitored, especially as habitat sizes dwindle and resources continue to become scarce. © Inter-Research 2013.


Nietlisbach P.,University of Zürich | Arora N.,University of Zürich | Nater A.,University of Zürich | Goossens B.,University of Cardiff | And 3 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2012

Mating systems are thought to be an important determinant of dispersal strategies in most animals, including the great apes. As the most basal taxon of all great apes, orang-utans can provide information about the evolution of mating systems and their consequences for population structure in this Family. To assess the sex-specific population structure in orang-utans, we used a combination of paternally transmitted Y-chromosomal genetic markers and maternally transmitted mitochondrial DNA sequences. Markers transmitted through the more philopatric sex are expected to show stronger differentiation among populations than the ones transmitted through the dispersing sex. We studied these patterns using 70 genetic samples from wild orang-utans from seven Bornean and two Sumatran populations. We found pronounced population structure in haplotype networks of mitochondrial sequence data, but much less so for male-specific markers. Similarly, mitochondrial genetic differentiation was twice as high among populations compared to Y-chromosomal variation. We also found that genetic distance increased faster with geographic distance for mitochondrial than for Y-linked markers, leading to estimates of male dispersal distances that are several-fold higher than those of females. These findings provide evidence for strong male-biased dispersal in orang-utans. The transition to predominantly female-biased dispersal in the great ape lineage appears to be correlated with life in multimale groups and may reflect the associated fitness benefits of reliable male coalitions with relatives or known partners, a feature that is absent in orang-utans. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Goossens B.,Danau Girang Field Center | Goossens B.,University of Cardiff | Salgado-Lynn M.,Danau Girang Field Center | Salgado-Lynn M.,University of Cardiff
Raffles Bulletin of Zoology | Year: 2013

Genetic data are widely used to test ecological and evolutionary hypotheses that can be applicable to the conservation of wild carnivore populations. We present the most typical information derived from genetic data such as species identifi cation, sex determination, and individual identifi cation, and we address the practicalities of collection and preservation of the most common non-invasive genetic samples. A review of the most widely used molecular markers (mitochondrial DNA, microsatellites, SNPs) and the latest technological developments (whole genome amplifi cation, next generation sequencing) for genetic analysis of wild populations is also included, as well as a few tools for DNA analysis. Finally, we recommend a series of measures to increase the potential success of a genetic study in a wild carnivore species. © National University of Singapore.

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