Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve: Important habitat for Bornean elephant

KOTA KINABALU: After more than 10 months of following the movement of the elephants in Segaliud Lokan Forest Reserve, which is adjacent to Deramakot Forest Reserve to the west and Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary to the east, the research team from KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd and Borneo Conservation Trust (BCT) discovered that the riverine forest is the key habitat for this largest herbivores in Sabah.

According to Raymond Alfred, head of the conservation and research programme at Borneo Conservation Trust, ‘Segaliud’, a female elephant that was collared by BCT with SWD’s Wildlife Rescue Unit using the radio-satellite collar in February, showed an unique ranging movement.

Segaliud represents more than 290-310 elephants in Segaliud Lokan Forest.

Their ranging pattern emphasises the importance of riverine forests and logging roads as their main migratory path, from each forest compartment to another forest compartment. Their ranging size is smaller than the previous Bornean elephant movement studies.

Alfred has collared 15 Bornean elephants in Sabah, covering Ulu Segama Malua, Gunung Rara, Lower Kinabatangan and Kalabakan forest reserves. This shows that the food sources in Segaliud Lokan forest research is sufficient due to the forest in this area being managed sustainably by KTS Plantations Sdn Bhd since several years ago.

The movement also shows the need to establish the ecological corridor between Segaliud Lokan-Deramakot to Malua forest reserve. However the corridor now is already developed by Kwantas Plantation for oil palm plantation at the northern part of Malua Forest Reserve.

Alfred has also studied the movement patterns of the elephant herds in Malua recently through satellite tracking, and showed that the elephant herds move from northern Malua to the east of Danum Valley, at the central Ulu Segama Malua.

Segaliud Lokan forest research is also an important habitat for Orang-utan in Sabah. Based on their wildlife and Orang-utan monitoring programmes in KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd, Alfred said the highest orang-utan density in Sabah is at Segaliud Lokan forest reserve, where most of the Orang-utans are concentrated south-east of Segaliud Lokan forest research. The research team found that the main tree species that is used by orang-utans (either for food sources or shelter ‘nest’) is the pioneer species.

The restoration programme that is currently carried out by KTS Plantation Sdn Bhd in this area will further improve the density and diversity of the tree species.

Commenting on the on-going wildlife research and monitoring in Segaliud Lokan, Sabah KTS Trading Sdn Bhd general manager Ngu Ngiong Hieng emphasised the need to fulfill the requirement of having the wildlife survey programme at Segaliud Lokan forest research.