Sabak Bernam, Malaysia
Sabak Bernam, 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.


Ancrenaz M.,Hutan | Ambu L.,Wisma Muis | Ahmad E.,Hutan | Manokaran K.,Hutan | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: Today the majority of wild great ape populations are found outside of the network of protected areas in both Africa and Asia, therefore determining if these populations are able to survive in forests that are exploited for timber or other extractive uses and how this is managed, is paramount for their conservation. Methodology/Principal Findings: In 2007, the "Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Project" (KOCP) conducted aerial and ground surveys of orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus morio) nests in the commercial forest reserves of Ulu Segama Malua (USM) in eastern Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Compared with previous estimates obtained in 2002, our recent data clearly shows that orang-utan populations can be maintained in forests that have been lightly and sustainably logged. However, forests that are heavily logged or subjected to fast, successive coupes that follow conventional extraction methods, exhibit a decline in orang-utan numbers which will eventually result in localized extinction (the rapid extraction of more than 100 m3 ha-1 of timber led to the crash of one of the surveyed sub-populations). Nest distribution in the forests of USM indicates that orang-utans leave areas undergoing active disturbance and take momentarily refuge in surrounding forests that are free of human activity, even if these forests are located above 500 m asl. Displaced individuals will then recolonize the old-logged areas after a period of time, depending on availability of food sources in the regenerating areas. Conclusion/Significance: These results indicate that diligent planning prior to timber extraction and the implementation of reduced-impact logging practices can potentially be compatible with great ape conservation. © 2010 Ancrenaz et al.


Gregory S.D.,University of Adelaide | Gregory S.D.,Salmon and Trout Research Center | Ancrenaz M.,Hutan | Brook B.W.,University of Adelaide | And 5 more authors.
Diversity and Distributions | Year: 2014

Aim: Habitat fragmentation threatens species' persistence by increasing subpopulation isolation and vulnerability to stochastic events, and its impacts are expected to worsen under climate change. By reconnecting isolated fragments, habitat corridors should dampen the synergistic impacts of habitat and climate change on population viability. Choosing which fragments to reconnect is typically informed by past and current environmental conditions. However, habitat and climate are dynamic and change over time. Habitat suitability projections could inform fragment selection using current and future conditions, ensuring that corridors connect persistent fragments. We compare the efficacy of using current-day and future forecasts of breeding habitat to inform corridor placement under land cover and climate-change mitigation and no mitigation scenarios by evaluating their influence on subpopulation abundance, and connectivity and long-term metapopulation abundance. Our case study is the threatened orangutan metapopulation in Sabah. Location: Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Methods: Using coupled niche-population models that capture a metapopulation distribution and its major processes, we forecast the effect of current-day and future-informed habitat corridor implementations under two scenarios where (1) land cover and climate change continue unabated (no mitigation) and (2) local and international cooperation mitigates their synergistic impact (mitigation). Results: We show that Future-informed corridor placement maximizes long-term metapopulation abundance when human-driven land cover and climate change alter the spatio-temporal composition of suitable habitat. By contrast, there is no apparent benefit in using future forecasts of breeding habitat to inform corridor placement if conditions remain comparatively stable. For the Sabah orangutan under unabated land cover and climate change, habitat corridors should connect current-day populated eastern habitat fragments with vacant fragments in the state's west. Main conclusions: The efficacy of habitat corridors can be improved by using habitat-suitability model projections to inform corridor placement in rapidly changing environments, even for long-lived, low-fecundity, philopatric species such as orangutan. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


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.


Goossens B.,University of Cardiff | Salgado-Lynn M.,University of Cardiff | Rovie-Ryan J.J.,Ex Situ Conservation Division | Ahmad A.H.,Universiti Malaysia Sabah | And 4 more authors.
ORYX | Year: 2013

Abstract The Sumatran rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis is on the brink of extinction. Although habitat loss and poaching were the reasons of the decline, today's reproductive isolation is the main threat to the survival of the species. Genetic studies have played an important role in identifying conservation priorities, including for rhinoceroses. However, for a species such as the Sumatran rhinoceros, where time is of the essence in preventing extinction, to what extent should genetic and geographical distances be taken into account in deciding the most urgently needed conservation interventions? We propose that the populations of Sumatra and Borneo be considered as a single management unit. © 2013 Fauna & Flora International.


PubMed | University of Cardiff, Jalan Labuk and Wisma Muis
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Sensors (Basel, Switzerland) | Year: 2016

The role that oil palm plays in the Lower Kinabatangan region of Eastern Sabah is of considerable scientific and conservation interest, providing a model habitat for many tropical regions as they become increasingly fragmented. Crocodilians, as apex predators, widely distributed throughout the tropics, are ideal indicator species for ecosystem health. Drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)) were used to identify crocodile nests in a fragmented landscape. Flights were targeted through the use of fuzzy overlay models and nests located primarily in areas indicated as suitable habitat. Nests displayed a number of similarities in terms of habitat characteristics allowing for refined modelling of survey locations. As well as being more cost-effective compared to traditional methods of nesting survey, the use of drones also enabled a larger survey area to be completed albeit with a limited number of flights. The study provides a methodology for targeted nest surveying, as well as a low-cost repeatable flight methodology. This approach has potential for widespread applicability across a range of species and for a variety of study designs.


PubMed | University of Oxford, WWF Malaysia, Simon Fraser University, University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh and 13 more.
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2014

The orangutan is the worlds largest arboreal mammal, and images of the red ape moving through the tropical forest canopy symbolise its typical arboreal behaviour. Records of terrestrial behaviour are scarce and often associated with habitat disturbance. We conducted a large-scale species-level analysis of ground-based camera-trapping data to evaluate the extent to which Bornean orangutans Pongo pygmaeus come down from the trees to travel terrestrially, and whether they are indeed forced to the ground primarily by anthropogenic forest disturbances. Although the degree of forest disturbance and canopy gap size influenced terrestriality, orangutans were recorded on the ground as frequently in heavily degraded habitats as in primary forests. Furthermore, all age-sex classes were recorded on the ground (flanged males more often). This suggests that terrestrial locomotion is part of the Bornean orangutans natural behavioural repertoire to a much greater extent than previously thought, and is only modified by habitat disturbance. The capacity of orangutans to come down from the trees may increase their ability to cope with at least smaller-scale forest fragmentation, and to cross moderately open spaces in mosaic landscapes, although the extent of this versatility remains to be investigated.


Muehlenbein M.P.,Indiana University | Martinez L.A.,Indiana University | Lemke A.A.,University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee | Ambu L.,Wisma MUIS | And 3 more authors.
Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease | Year: 2010

Background: Ecotourism can function as a powerful tool for species conservation. However, a significant proportion of travelers at wildlife sanctuaries may be ill and potentially infectious, creating unnecessary risk of pathogen transmission to wildlife. Methods: A questionnaire was distributed to adult visitors at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sabah, Malaysia. The questionnaire recorded age, occupation, region of origin, history of recent travel, recent contact with livestock, domestic and wild animals, and diagnoses/symptoms of various infections. Results: 15% of the 633 tourists self-reported at least one of the following current symptoms: cough, sore throat, congestion, fever, diarrhea and vomiting. Participants who reported recent animal contact were significantly more likely to report current respiratory symptoms compared to other participants. Likewise, participants with a medical-related occupation were more likely to report current respiratory symptoms while at Sepilok compared to other participants. Conclusions: Despite being ill and potentially infectious, these tourists were visiting a wildlife sanctuary to view endangered species. Many of these visitors had animal contact immediately prior to arriving, and many had at least some basic knowledge about infection transmission. While participants in nature-based tourism are generally concerned about environmental protection, present analyses suggest that a significant proportion of ecotourists are uninformed of the risks they may pose to non-human animal health. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Mohamed A.,WWF Malaysia | Mohamed A.,Universiti Malaysia Sabah | Sollmann R.,North Carolina State University | Bernard H.,Universiti Malaysia Sabah | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Mammalogy | Year: 2013

The small (2- to 7-kg) leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) is the most common cat species in Asia. Although it occurs in a wide range of habitats and seems to adapt well to anthropogenic habitat changes, surprisingly little is known about this species in the wild. All studies have focused on protected areas, although a large proportion of Southeast Asian forests are timber concessions. During this study, we used large camera-trapping data sets (783 records of 124 individuals) from 3 commercially used forests to investigate consequences of different logging regimes on density and habitat associations of the leopard cat. We applied spatial capture-recapture models accounting for the location of camera-traps (on or off road) to obtain estimates of leopard cat density. Density was higher in the 2 more disturbed forest reserves (X̄ = 12.4 individuals/100 km2 ± 1.6 SE and 16.5 ± 2 individuals/100 km2) than in the sustainably managed forest (9.6 ± 1.7 individuals/100 km2). Encounter rates with off-road traps were only 3.6-9.1% of those for on-road traps. Occupancy models, which accounted for spatial autocorrelation between sampling sites by using a conditional autoregressive model, revealed that canopy closure and ratio of climax to pioneer trees had a significantly negative impact on leopard cat occurrence. Our results confirm that the leopard cat is doing well in modified landscapes and even seems to benefit from the opening of forests. With such flexibility the leopard cat is an exception among tropical rain-forest carnivores. © 2013 American Society of Mammalogists.


PubMed | University of Amsterdam, University of Queensland, Center for International Forestry Research, Wisma MUIS and 3 more.
Type: | Journal: Nature communications | Year: 2015

Balancing economic development with international commitments to protect biodiversity is a global challenge. Achieving this balance requires an understanding of the possible consequences of alternative future scenarios for a range of stakeholders. We employ an integrated economic and environmental planning approach to evaluate four alternative futures for the mega-diverse island of Borneo. We show what could be achieved if the three national jurisdictions of Borneo coordinate efforts to achieve their public policy targets and allow a partial reallocation of planned land uses. We reveal the potential for Borneo to simultaneously retain 50% of its land as forests, protect adequate habitat for the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) and Bornean elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis), and achieve an opportunity cost saving of over US$43 billion. Such coordination would depend on enhanced information sharing and reforms to land-use planning, which could be supported by the increasingly international nature of economies and conservation efforts.

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