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Friday, October 30, 2015

Tracking wildlife in Malaysia: a forest revealed

Posted by: Bridget Dunn, Communications

In and around Taman Negara National Park in Peninsular Malaysia, we’re working with our field conservation partners Panthera and Rimba to find and protect critically endangered Malayan tigers. This effort was established in 2012 as the WPZ-Panthera Malayan Tiger Conservation Partnership with a $1 million, 10-year commitment to collaborate with Rimba and Malaysia’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks. One of Rimba’s most important tiger detection tools is a series of remote cameras, known as camera traps, set up around the forest. The traps are motion and heat sensitive, and the images they capture help us understand where tigers are so we can focus our protection efforts in those areas.

One great thing about these cameras is how they are documenting that there are more than tigers to discover in this spectacular jungle!

Photo: DWNP-Rimba

Camera traps aren’t picky—they’ll snap a photo of any warm-blooded animal that moves within the 20 to 40 foot range, including these playful sun bears.

Photo: DWNP-Rimba

Are you curious about our work? So are these bushy-crested hornbills.

Photo: DWNP-Rimba

Sometimes animals unwittingly take family portraits. This baby Asian elephant doesn’t seem at all camera shy.

Photo: DWNP-Rimba

Tigers have a lot of neighbors, including this leopard and her cub. Animals of many kinds benefit when our researchers’ presence discourages poaching and other illegal human activity.

Photo: DWNP-Rimba

Sambar deer, an important food source for tigers, wander by the camera trap. Overpoaching of sambar deer makes it harder for tigers to find food for themselves and their young.

Photo: DWNP-Rimba

Once in a while, we’re lucky enough to have a tiger come by—in this case, two! Notice the sunlight. Our researchers found that tigers at our field site are active at any time of day or night.

Photo: DWNP-Rimba

Unfortunately for the jungle dwellers, they’re not alone, and tigers aren’t the deadliest hunters. The biggest threat these animals face is humans. Seen here is a poacher, machete in hand, hiding his face from the camera.

Woodland Park Zoo and our partners Panthera and Rimba are working in Malaysia to protect tigers and their habitat. We identify tiger hot spots with the help of camera traps in order to focus protection on those areas. We’re also working with the state and federal governments to increase law enforcement, and reaching out to the local community to engage them with tiger conservation. Combined, these efforts can have a positive impact on the future of tigers and their delicate ecosystem.

What can you do? You can join our Tiger Team to learn more about the plight of tigers in the wild. You can also vote yes on Washington Initiative 1401 on the November 3rd ballot. This initiative will increase penalties for trafficking endangered animal species parts in the state of Washington. The initiative covers 10 endangered animal species groups, including tigers. By decreasing the demand for black market endangered animal species parts, we can discourage the brutal trade elsewhere that supplies it. Make a difference for these animals—vote yes on I-1401.

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