Monday, September 10, 2012

PHOTOS: Camera traps capture wildlife bonanza in Borneo forest corridor

Camera traps placed in a corridor connecting two forest fragments have revealed (in stunning visuals) the importance of such linkages for Borneo's imperiled mammals and birds.

Over 18 months, researchers with the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) and the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) have photographed wildlife utilizing the corridor located in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in Malaysian Borneo.

"We have identified 27 species of mammals including the extremely rare otter civet and the charismatic Sunda clouded leopard and Malayan sun bear; and six species of birds including the endangered storm stork," explains the director of SWD, Laurentius Ambu, in a press release.

Forests along the Kinabatangan River are heavily fragmented by oil palm plantations, many of which are planted all the way to the river's edge, making it difficult for animals to move between surviving forests.

Nearly three years ago, the palm oil industry and the Sabah government pledged to partner to build wildlife corridors and require all land with 100 meters of the river be left for wildlife conservation, but little progress has been made to date.

Last year Ambu said that the government was ready to go, but that "the oil palm industry on the whole has been very slow to replant riparian areas although they talk a lot."

Lack of forest means that some animals are changing their behaviors to survive.