Text by Roshan Guharajan and Vennesa Venda
Photo by: Amy Scott, Marieanne Leong, Ng Yen Fern.
The new volunteers at the BSBCC (Amy Scott, Vanessa Venda, Marieanne Leong, Ng Yen Fern and Roshan Guharajan) have been tasked with surveying the trees in Forest Enclosure C. BSBCC Project Manager Ng Wai Pak needed this done to have an idea of which trees were being actively used by bears when they are let out into the forest. We were definitely excited at the prospect of working on this new project. As a few of us were forestry and wildlife students, we hoped to gain some invaluable experience from this venture.
Wai Pak started out by briefing us on what exactly he wanted done. Sun bears leave distinctive claw marks on the bark of trees when they ascend and descend trees. We were taught how to identify these as well as measure tree girth and record canopy cover and ground vegetation. Each of us was given a specific task. Before we started the field work, one of us even suggested that the surveying would take a day at most. However, after the first two hours in the forest we had only managed to survey 20 trees (there were over 100!!). Although it was tiring, it was indeed a rewarding experience. Seeing all the claw marks on the various trees lifted our spirits as the bears in the forest enclosure were doing what sun bears do best: climb. These bears that were once living very sedentary lives in cramped conditions are now behaving like their wild brothers and sisters outside the forest pen. Besides the claw marks, we came across spots where the bears had been digging as well as a bedding site in a hollowed out tree trunk.
Being out in the forest proved to be a breath of fresh air after spending most of our time in the bear house. Besides the many leeches and biting ants, we were blessed enough to see rhinoceros hornbills and giant squirrels. One of the bear keepers, Daniel, also came out to the forest to assist us once in a while. It was spectacular to be able to see nature on its own, and within three days of measuring and analyzing, we were finally done. And it was back to husbandry again… A well spent three days and we bet the bears missed us!
http://www.mmail.com.my/content/77919-perhilitans-animal-instictsPerhilitan's animal insticts
Submitted by Najiah on Friday, July 15th, 2011
As long as there's demand, illegal meat trade will flourish, says Perhilitan head
Friday, July 15th, 2011 14:26:00
The Malay Mail spoke to Perhilitan director-general DATUK ABD RASID SAMSUDIN (left) yesterday about what the department is doing to tackle the issue.
Q: Why do restaurants persist in serving dishes made from the meat of exotic and endangered species?
A: It is about demand and supply. If there is no demand for such meat, it would not be sold. For example, during the raid on July 6, there were a variety of meat being served at the restaurant but people preferred to eat dishes made from the meat of the Malayan sun bear. The case is still under investigation.
Q: Where do these restaurant operators get their supply of such meat?
A: They go through a middlemen. Orang asli, who have access to national parks and forests in the Peninsular, are being paid a small sum to hunt for the meat. It is a pity the orang asli are being used this way as many do it for the money.
In the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, orang asli are allowed to hunt for endangered wildlife such as deer and ayam hutan (jungle fowl) but only enough to feed themselves. Imagine, an orang asli is paid only RM380 for each Pangolin they catch, which isn’t much. However, we are not blaming their community as they are being taken advantage of by irresponsible parties.
Q: Who is tipping-off Perhilitan on such illegal trade?
A: We are proud to say we receive tip-offs from the public. More people are becoming aware of such trade and when they give us accurate information, we give them a small reward.
Q: Does Perhilitan monitor restaurants in the Klang Valley suspected of selling exotic dishes?
A: Yes. We have identified several hotspots in the Klang Valley, such as in Subang Jaya, where restaurants serve exotic dishes. Some restaurants have been raided many times but they still serve those dishes, so we have to constantly monitor them. Our aim is to find their main supplier.
Q: How many illegal traders have been arrested and charged?
A: In the last five years, we arrested and charged 170 individuals under the Wildlife Conservation Act.
Q: What action has Perhilitan taken to tackle this menace?
A: We constantly monitor our national forests. There are several laws enshrined in the new Wildlife Conservation Act 2010, which we enforce, such as Subsection 62, which states anyone who hunts or keeps the female of a protected species without a licence shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both.
Meanwhile, Subsection 63 stipulates any person who carries out wildlife trade or taxidermy without a licence shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or imprisonment up to two years or both, upon conviction.
Q: How many animal species are protected by Perhilitan?
A: There are 2,120 protected endangered species and subspecies. We also protect several non-endangered animals, such as wildboar and monkeys, in order to preserve the natural habitat.
Q: Which protected species or animal products are the most traded in and out of Malaysia?
A: The three most traded are pangolin, wildboar and clouded monitor. Others include murai batu (white-rumped shama) and merbah telinga merah (red-whiskered bulbul) bird nests.
WILDLIFE authorities in the country have long been fighting to stem the tide of illegal trade of the meat of endangered species in the country. The issue was recently brought to the fore after a raid by the Department of Wildlife and National Park (Perhilitan) led to the discovery of 1.27kg of meat, supposedly that of the endangered Malayan sun bear, being served in a restaurant in Jalan Kuching.
A sms that I received on the evening of the June 28th sent my excitement to the roof. The text message was from Joe Pontecorvo, the Director and Producer of Beartrek, that he was in Kota Kinabalu and he was on his way to Sandakan to visit me and Cerah the sun bear.
For those of you who do not know BEARTREK, please click here or visit http://wildlifemedia.org/the-movie/watch-clips/.
"BEARTREK is Wildlife Media's first feature-length film. It takes you on a global motorcycle quest with insatiable adventurer and biologist Chris Morgan. Chris traverses the wildest places on Earth seeking out the rarest bear species and the dedicated people racing to save them from extinction. Movie profits will fund bear conservation, including projects highlighted in the film. Watch the clips below, explore this website, then support wildlife and wild places"
Joe is not ordinary film director. He is THE director and producer that produced several wildlife documentaries, BEARTREK and also the latest highly acclaimed PBS Nature documentary, "Bears of The Last Frontier." In 2007, Joe together with Chris Morgan and their team from the Wildlife Media visited me in Danum Valley when I was conducting a 3 years field work studying wild sun bears and bearded pigs. We completed the filming for the sun bear section for BEARTREK with Chris, who is the host and the narrator of the movie. After almost 4 years since Joe left Borneo, he was back to this part of the world for a new mission. I am so glad to meet him, to catch up with him, and we discussed potential corroboration works for us in the future.
BEARTREK is not just another wildlife documentary about bears. It will be the first wildlife movie that show case the little known sun bear and the plights of their survival on the island of Borneo. It will for sure create a huge positive force to raise awareness and enlighten millions of audiences across the world about the uniqueness, preciousness, and the beautifulness of sun bears that live in the dense tropical rainforest of Borneo. Over the last four years the promos of Beartrek and a tailor-made video of sun bear from Wildlife Media has instrumental the success of several fund raising events for BSBCC. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Joe, Chris and their team in Wildlife Media to making all of these possible.
Thank you guys!
Please read more about BEARTREK: