Geographically isolated populations of endemic orchids have evolved and adapted to an existence within specifi c ecological niches. These populations are highly susceptible to anthropogenic
infl uences on their microhabitats. The primary objective of conservation programs is the restoration of endangered populations to their ecologically sustainable levels, and the fi rst stage in the process of conservation involves estimation of molecular diversity at the level of the population. The approach described in this article involves the application of RAPD, Microsatellites and Chloroplast DNA markers for the characterization of the genetic structure of Paphiopedilum rothschildianum and Phalaenopsis gigantea, two endangered and endemic orchids of Sabah. This study has isolated a total of 96 microsatellite loci in P. rothschildianum and P. gigantea, 42 specifi c primer pairs have been designed for amplifi cation of microsatellite loci and are currently being applied to screen the breeding pools. The Chloroplast DNA regions amplifi ed by the primer pairs trnH-psbA and trnL-trnF exhibit distinct polymorphisms and can be used to establish phylogenetic
relationships. The ability of microsatellite loci to cross-amplify selected varieties of orchids has been determined. The molecular markers developed will be applied to estimate population diversity
levels and to formulate long-term management strategies for the conservation of endangered species of orchids of Sabah.
Ten polymorphic microsatellite markers have been developed for Gonystylus bancanus (Ramin), a protected tree species of peat swamp forests in Malaysia and Indonesia. Eight markers were also shown to be polymorphic in other Gonystylus species. The markers will enable assessing the amount of genetic variation within and among populations and the degree of population differentiation, such that donor populations can be selected for reforestation projects. They may be used for tracing and tracking of wood in the production chain, so that legal trade in this Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora-protected timber species, derived from specifically described origins, can be distinguished from illegally logged timber.
Molecular techniques involving the application of DNA based molecular markers for the conservation and management of endemic and endangered species have assumed significance as
genome sequencing projects have generated an extensive database which can be mined for informative genomic regions. Scientific approaches towards conservation involve several stages, which encompass determination of appropriate genomic regions for characterization, design and testing of specific molecular markers, screening of multiple populations and statistical treatment and
interpretation of data. Population data can be utilized to develop controlled breeding and relocation programs aimed at ensuring that genetic diversity within populations of endangered species is
sustained within the context of an overall conservation program. The information derived as a result of this approach can be applied to establish a scientific and legal framework for the conservation of endemic species. Species specific genomic markers can be applied to enforce the implementation of CITES within the guidelines of a national biodiversity conservation policy.
A total of 1951 species of freshwater and marine fishes belonging to 704 genera and 186 families are recorded in Malaysia. Almost half (48%) are currently threatened to some degree, while nearly one third (27%) mostly from the marine and coral habitats require urgent scientific studies to evaluate their status. Freshwater habitats encompass the highest percentage of threatened fish species (87%) followed by estuarine habitats (66%). Of the 32 species of highly threatened (HT) species, 16 are freshwater and 16 are largely marine-euryhaline species. Fish extinctions in Malaysia are confined to two freshwater species, but both freshwater and marine species are being increasingly threatened by largely habitat loss or modification (76%), overfishing (27%) and by-catch (23%). The most important threat to freshwater fishes is habitat modification and overfishing, while 35 species are threatened due to their endemism. Brackish-water, euryhaline and marine fishes are threatened mainly by overfishing, by-catch and habitat modification. Sedimentation (pollution) additionally threatens coral-reef fishes. The study provides recommendations to governments, fish managers, scientists and stakeholders to address the increasing and unabated extinction risks faced by the Malaysian fish fauna.
A century ago, tigers (Panthera tigris Linnaeus, 1758) were so common in parts of Southeast Asia as to be considered pests, and governments sponsored their killing. Habitat loss and fragmentation, market-driven poaching and loss of prey have since led to the disappearance of Indochinese tigers from most their former range. Despite 15 years of dedicated tiger conservation funding, national estimates of Indochinese tiger subpopulations can at best only be roughly approximated. The future for the subspecies appears grim unless very focused efforts can be applied to stabilize and recover subpopulations. On a regional scale, the 2 proposed subspecies Panthera tigris corbetti and P. tigris jacksoni are effectively managed as separate conservation units. Evaluating where to place conservation efforts should consider the vulnerability (likelihood of extinction) and irreplaceability (likelihood that an area contributes uniquely to regional conservation) of tiger subpopulations. Only 1 site in Thailand supporting <200 individuals (Huai Kha Khaeng-Thung Yai) is considered low vulnerability, and is irreplaceable. Five sites in Lao, Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia are medium vulnerability and irreplaceable. Priorities at these 6 sites are to double tiger numbers within 10 years through protection and monitoring. Seven sites in Lao, Thailand and Myanmar are high vulnerability and irreplaceable, and might be recovered if government commitment to tigers, staff capacity and legal frameworks for tiger protection are established. Tigers are extremely vulnerable or even extinct in Cambodia's Eastern Plains and the site is irreplaceable for tigers because it represents the only large (>10,000 km(2) ) block of dry forest habitat available in the region. A reintroduction program is the only option to recover tigers there.
The Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus) is the largest among the four tapir species and is listed as an endangered species. Ultrasound examination and description of the external anatomy of the female reproductive system of three adult females were performed, whereas the internal anatomy was investigated in necropsied samples of four adult females and one subadult female. Descriptions of the male external genitalia were conducted on one adult male. Gross examination revealed the presence of a bicornuate uterus. The uterine cervix is firm and muscular with projections towards its lumen, which is also evident on ultrasonography. The elongated and relatively small ovaries, which have a smooth surface, could not be imaged on ultrasonography, due to their anatomical position. The testes are located inside a slightly pendulous scrotum that is sparsely covered with soft, short hairs. The penis has one dorsal and two lateral penile projections just proximal to the glans penis.
With only 5% of the world's wild tigers (Panthera tigris Linnaeus, 1758) remaining since the last century, conservationists urgently need to know whether or not the management strategies currently being employed are effectively protecting these tigers. This knowledge is contingent on the ability to reliably monitor tiger populations, or subsets, over space and time. In the this paper, we focus on the 2 seminal methodologies (camera trap and occupancy surveys) that have enabled the monitoring of tiger populations with greater confidence. Specifically, we: (i) describe their statistical theory and application in the field; (ii) discuss issues associated with their survey designs and state variable modeling; and, (iii) discuss their future directions. These methods have had an unprecedented influence on increasing statistical rigor within tiger surveys and, also, surveys of other carnivore species. Nevertheless, only 2 published camera trap studies have gone beyond single baseline assessments and actually monitored population trends. For low density tiger populations (e.g. <1 adult tiger/100 km(2)) obtaining sufficient precision for state variable estimates from camera trapping remains a challenge because of insufficient detection probabilities and/or sample sizes. Occupancy surveys have overcome this problem by redefining the sampling unit (e.g. grid cells and not individual tigers). Current research is focusing on developing spatially explicit capture-mark-recapture models and estimating abundance indices from landscape-scale occupancy surveys, as well as the use of genetic information for identifying and monitoring tigers. The widespread application of these monitoring methods in the field now enables complementary studies on the impact of the different threats to tiger populations and their response to varying management intervention.
The flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) is one of the world's least known, highly threatened felids with a distribution restricted to tropical lowland rainforests in Peninsular Thailand/Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra. Throughout its geographic range large-scale anthropogenic transformation processes, including the pollution of fresh-water river systems and landscape fragmentation, raise concerns regarding its conservation status. Despite an increasing number of camera-trapping field surveys for carnivores in South-East Asia during the past two decades, few of these studies recorded the flat-headed cat.
Orangutan survival is threatened by habitat loss and illegal killing. Most wild populations will disappear over the next few decades unless threats are abated. Saving orangutans is ultimately in the hands of the governments and people of Indonesia and Malaysia, which need to ensure that habitats of viable orangutan populations are protected from deforestation and well managed to ensure no hunting takes place. Companies working in orangutan habitat also have to play a much bigger role in habitat management. Although the major problems and the direct actions required to solve them-reducing forest loss and hunting-have been known for decades, orangutan populations continue to decline. Orangutan populations in Sumatra and Borneo have declined by between 2,280 and 5,250 orangutans annually over the past 25 years. As the total current population for the two species is some 60,000 animals in an area of about 90,000 km(2) , there is not much time left to make conservation efforts truly effective. Our review discusses what has and has not worked in conservation to guide future conservation efforts.
Tor tor is an important game and food fish of India with a distribution throughout Asia from the trans-Himalayan region to the Mekong River basin to Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia. A new cell line named TTCF was developed from the caudal fin of T. tor for the first time. The cell line was optimally maintained at 28°C in Leibovitz-15 (L-15) medium supplemented with 20% fetal bovine serum (FBS). The propagation of TTCF cells showed a high plating efficiency of 63.00%. The cytogenetic analysis revealed a diploid count of 100 chromosomes at passage 15, 30, 45 and 60 passages. The viability of the TTCF cell line was found to be 72% after 6 months of cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen (-196°C). The origin of the cell lines was confirmed by the amplification of 578- and 655-bp sequences of 16S rRNA and cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) genes of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) respectively. TTCF cells were successfully transfected with green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter plasmids. Further, immunocytochemistry studies confirm its fibroblastic morphology of cells. Genotoxicity assessment of H₂O₂ in TTCF cell line revealed the utility of TTCF cell line as in vitro model for aquatic toxicological studies.
In 2008, the IUCN threat status of the Asian tapir (Tapirus indicus) was reclassified from 'vulnerable' to 'endangered'. The latest distribution map from the IUCN Red List suggests that the tapirs' native range is becoming increasingly fragmented in Peninsular Malaysia, but distribution data collected by local researchers suggest a more extensive geographical range. Here, we compile a database of 1261 tapir occurrence records within Peninsular Malaysia, and demonstrate that this species, indeed, has a much broader geographical range than the IUCN range map suggests. However, extreme spatial and temporal bias in these records limits their utility for conservation planning. Therefore, we used maximum entropy (MaxEnt) modeling to elucidate the potential extent of the Asian tapir's occurrence in Peninsular Malaysia while accounting for bias in existing distribution data. Our MaxEnt model predicted that the Asian tapir has a wider geographic range than our fine-scale data and the IUCN range map both suggest. Approximately 37% of Peninsular Malaysia contains potentially suitable tapir habitats. Our results justify a revision to the Asian tapir's extent of occurrence in the IUCN Red List. Furthermore, our modeling demonstrated that selectively logged forests encompass 45% of potentially suitable tapir habitats, underscoring the importance of these habitats for the conservation of this species in Peninsular Malaysia.
The endangered Asian tapir (Tapirus indicus) is threatened by large-scale habitat loss, forest fragmentation and increased hunting pressure. Conservation planning for this species, however, is hampered by a severe paucity of information on its ecology and population status. We present the first Asian tapir population density estimate from a camera trapping study targeting tigers in a selectively logged forest within Peninsular Malaysia using a spatially explicit capture-recapture maximum likelihood based framework. With a trap effort of 2496 nights, 17 individuals were identified corresponding to a density (standard error) estimate of 9.49 (2.55) adult tapirs/100 km(2) . Although our results include several caveats, we believe that our density estimate still serves as an important baseline to facilitate the monitoring of tapir population trends in Peninsular Malaysia. Our study also highlights the potential of extracting vital ecological and population information for other cryptic individually identifiable animals from tiger-centric studies, especially with the use of a spatially explicit capture-recapture maximum likelihood based framework.
Presbytis chrysomelas chrysomelas endemic only in Sarawak and Kalimantan was categorized by IUCN as a critically endangered primate that require special attention from research and conservation perspectives. A qualitative study on ranging patterns of P. c. chrysomelas was conducted in the Samunsam Wildlife Sanctuary, Sarawak. The study was conducted over a period of 13 months from December 2004 to December 2005 with 213 days of observation. Behavioural observation covered 17 groups with special emphasis on two main groups and 1 subadult group. Scanning and focal sampling were employed as the observation methods. Results indicated that P. c. chrysomelas had vertical, straight horizontal, and cross-horizontal types of movement patterns. P. c. chrysomelas was recorded to have a short movement distance (31.8-54.3 m). Distribution, abundance types, and food resources might be the factors that shaped the patterns of movement and distance in P. c. chrysomelas.
The genetic diversity of the endangered crocodile Tomistoma schlegelii was characterized using the protein coding ND 6-tRNA(glu)-cyt b and the cytochrome b-control region (cyt b-CR) markers. Concatenate data revealed six haplotypes with an overall haplotype diversity of 0.769 ± 0.039; nucleotide diversity was 0.00535 ± 0.00172. A nearest-neighbor analysis showed that all individuals clustered with four geographic regions (Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak, and East Kalimantan) and were genetically differentiated. With the exception of the individuals from haplotype H2, which occurred in both Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak, all other haplotypes were geographically distinct. The H4 lineage, which was found to be the most divergent, clustered exclusively in the basal clade in all phylogenetic trees, and the haplotype network was unconnected at the 95% reconnection limit, suggesting further investigation to establish its possible status as a distinct evolutionary significant unit or a cryptic species.
The eagle ray Aetobatus flagellum (Bloch & Schneider, 1801) is redescribed based on new material from the Persian Gulf (Kuwait), Indonesia and Malaysia. A related but distinct species of Aetobatus from the western North Pacific, previously referred to as A. flagellum, is reported. Aetobatus flagellum is a medium-sized eagle ray which attains about 900 mm DW; males mature at approximately 500 mm DW. Aetobatus flagellum appears to be uncommon and restricted to estuary-influenced waters of the Indo-West Pacific. It is caught as gillnet bycatch where its habit of schooling, combined with probable small litter size, may make it particularly vulnerable to impacts from fisheries.
The endangered proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) is a sexually highly dimorphic Old World primate endemic to the island of Borneo. Previous studies focused mainly on its ecology and behavior, but knowledge of its vocalizations is limited. The present study provides quantified information on vocal rate and on the vocal acoustics of the prominent calls of this species. We audio-recorded vocal behavior of 10 groups over two 4-month periods at the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary in Sabah, Borneo. We observed monkeys and recorded calls in evening and morning sessions at sleeping trees along riverbanks. We found no differences in the vocal rate between evening and morning observation sessions. Based on multiparametric analysis, we identified acoustic features of the four common call-types "shrieks," "honks," "roars," and "brays." "Chorus" events were also noted in which multiple callers produced a mix of vocalizations. The four call-types were distinguishable based on a combination of fundamental frequency variation, call duration, and degree of voicing. Three of the call-types can be considered as "loud calls" and are therefore deemed promising candidates for non-invasive, vocalization-based monitoring of proboscis monkeys for conservation purposes.
BACKGROUND: Asian slow lorises (Nycticebus spp.) are one of few known venomous mammals, yet until now only one published case report has documented the impact of their venomous bite on humans. We describe the reaction of a patient to the bite of a subadult Nycticebus kayan, which occurred in the Mulu District of Sarawak in 2012.
FINDINGS: Within minutes of the bite, the patient experienced paraesthesia in the right side of the jaw, ear and right foot. By 40 minutes, swelling of the face was pronounced. The patient was admitted to Mulu National Park Health Clinic/Klinik Kesihatan Taman Mulu Tarikh, at which time he was experiencing: swollen mouth, chest pain, mild abdominal pain, nausea, numbness of the lips and mouth, shortness of breath, weakness, agitation and the sensation of pressure in the ears due to swelling. The blood pressure was 110/76, the heart ratio was 116 and oxygen saturation was 96%. The patient was treated intramuscularly with adrenaline (0.5 mL), followed by intravenous injection of hydrocortisone (400 mg) and then intravenous fluid therapy of normal saline (500 mg). By 8 h10 the next day, the patient's condition had significantly improved with no nausea, and with blood pressure and pulse rate stable.
CONCLUSIONS: A handful of anecdotes further support the real danger that slow loris bites pose to humans. As the illegal pet trade is a major factor in the decline of these threatened species, we hope that by reporting on the danger of handling these animals it may help to reduce their desirability as a pet.
Habitat destruction and overhunting are two major drivers of mammal population declines and extinctions in tropical forests. The construction of roads can be a catalyst for these two threats. In Southeast Asia, the impacts of roads on mammals have not been well-documented at a regional scale. Before evidence-based conservation strategies can be developed to minimize the threat of roads to endangered mammals within this region, we first need to locate where and how roads are contributing to the conversion of their habitats and illegal hunting in each country. We interviewed 36 experts involved in mammal research from seven Southeast Asian countries to identify roads that are contributing the most, in their opinion, to habitat conversion and illegal hunting. Our experts highlighted 16 existing and eight planned roads - these potentially threaten 21% of the 117 endangered terrestrial mammals in those countries. Apart from gathering qualitative evidence from the literature to assess their claims, we demonstrate how species-distribution models, satellite imagery and animal-sign surveys can be used to provide quantitative evidence of roads causing impacts by (1) cutting through habitats where endangered mammals are likely to occur, (2) intensifying forest conversion, and (3) contributing to illegal hunting and wildlife trade. To our knowledge, ours is the first study to identify specific roads threatening endangered mammals in Southeast Asia. Further through highlighting the impacts of roads, we propose 10 measures to limit road impacts in the region.