Bird surveys were conducted in the Bukit Kepala Gajah limestone area in Lenggong, Perak from July 2010 to January 2011. The study area was divided into three zones: forest edge, forest intermediate and forest interior. A point-count distance sampling method was used in the bird surveys. The study recorded 7789 detections, representing 100 bird species belonging to 28 families. Pycnonotidae, Timaliidae and Nectariniidae were the dominant families overall and showed the highest number of observations recorded in the study area whereas Motacillidae showed the fewest observations. The bird species were grouped into three feeding guilds: insectivores, frugivores and others (omnivores, carnivores, nectarivores and granivores). The species richness of insectivorous birds differed significantly among the forest zones sampled (Kruskal-Wallis: α=0.05, H=10.979, d.f.=2, p=0.004), with more insectivorous birds occurring in the forest interior. No significant differences were found among the zones in the species richness of either the frugivore guild or the composite others guild.
The Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and Olive Ridley Turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) are the only sea turtles with recorded landings in the Pulau Pinang coastal area. The Green Turtle has been the most abundant and widely distributed sea turtle in this area since it was first surveyed in 1995. Statistical analysis by the Pulau Pinang Department of Fisheries on the distribution of sea turtles from 2001 through 2009 has identified Pantai Kerachut and Telok Kampi as the most strongly preferred beaches for Green Turtle landings, with records for almost every month in every year. Green Turtle tracks and nests have also been found along the coast of Pulau Pinang at Batu Ferringhi, Tanjong Bungah, Pantai Medan, Pantai Belanda, Telok Kumbar, Gertak Sanggul, Moonlight Beach, Telok Duyung, Telok Aling, Telok Bahang and Telok Katapang. The Olive Ridley Turtle is present in smaller numbers; landing and nesting have only been recorded on a few beaches. There are no previous records of Olive Ridley landings at Pantai Kerachut and Telok Kampi, but tracks and nests have been found at Telok Kumbar, Tanjong Bungah, Pantai Medan, Telok Duyung and Gertak Sanggul. A Turtle Conservation Centre has been established at Pantai Kerachut to protect these species from extinction in Pulau Pinang. This paper presents details of the records and distribution of sea turtles in Pulau Pinang from 1995 through 2009.
Rattans (subfamily Calamoideae) are an important component of the forests of the Old World. However, few studies have been conducted on the distribution of these abundant palms within different habitats, specifically in Peninsular Malaysia. This study was aimed at assessing rattan diversity, abundance and biomass change across two different habitat types, namely, dipterocarp forests and fresh-water swamps within the Segari Melintang Forest Reserve, Perak, within two years. All rattan stems within five 100 m × 100 m sized study plots (A-E) of the two habitat types were counted in 2011 and 2013, and Shannon-Wiener diversity indices (H') and Bray-Curtis dissimilarity indices were calculated. A total of 11 species from 5 genera (161 stems ha(-1)) were sampled. Rattan abundance was higher in all swamp plots; however, rattan diversity (H') was highest in the dipterocarp plot (D: H' (2011)1.79; H' (2013)1.84). Bray-Curtis indices of rattan abundance (highest similarity in swamp: plot BC(2011) 0.484, BC(2013) 0.262) and biomass were highest for study plots with the same vegetation types in both years. For rattan biomass, the most similar plot pairs changed during the years: dipterocarp plots A and D were most similar in 2011 (0.509), and swamp plots B and C were most similar in 2013 (0.282). This study helped contribute information regarding the distribution and dynamics of rattans in a primary rainforest of Peninsular Malaysia.
A total of 37 fish species from 14 families were observed during surveys conducted from January to March 2005 at 8 selected streams near the Gunung Jerai Forest Reserve. The list includes two species (Rasbora trilineata and Systomus partipentazona) that were visually identified at the lower part of the Sungai Teroi stream. Single specimens of Leiocassis micropogon, Clarias macrocephalus and Hampala macrolepidota were also obtained at certain sampling stations. Devario regina and Systomus binotatus were the most abundant species at all sampling stations. However, the list is still incomplete as the study was carried out over a short time period and there are large areas that have not yet been surveyed. The presence of exotic species (Carassius auratus) at Sungai Badak indicates anthropogenic influences. Therefore, a long-term monitoring program for Gunung Jerai Forest Reserve streams should be planned and carried out to assess the impacts of future development on fish biodiversity and water quality.
A survey was conducted to catalogue the diversity of anurans in District IV of the Muda Agriculture Development Authority Scheme (MADA) in Kedah Darul Aman, Malaysia, from July 1996 to January 1997. Eight species of anurans from three families were present in the study area. Of these, the Common Grass Frog (Fejevarya limnocharis) was the most abundant, followed by Mangrove Frog (Fejevarya cancrivora), Long-legged Frog (Hylarana macrodactyla), and Common Toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus). Puddle Frog (Occidozyga lima), Taiwanese Giant Frog (Hoplobatrachus rugulosus), and Banded Bullfrog (Kaluola pulchra) were rare during the sampling period, and only one Paddy Frog (Hylarana erythraea) was captured. A simple identification key for the anurans of this area is included for use by scientists and laymen alike.
Bird surveys were conducted in the Padawan Limestone Area for seven days at each of two study sites, Giam and Danu, from August to December 2008. The purpose of the study was to compare the area's bird species richness and abundance of bird species in other limestone areas and in other forest types. The study also compared the species richness and relative abundance of birds in undisturbed and disturbed areas at both study sites. Twenty mist nets were deployed for 12 hours daily. During this study period, direct observations of birds were also made. In all, 80 species from 34 families were recorded at both sites. At Giam, 120 birds were mist-netted. These birds represented 31 species from 16 families. The direct observations at Giam recorded 13 species from 11 families. In the undisturbed area, 21 species from 13 families were mist-netted, whereas in the disturbed area, 21 species from 10 families were mist-netted. In Danu, a total of 48 birds, representing 25 species from 12 families, were mist-netted. The observations at Danu recorded 34 species from 19 families. Twelve species from 7 families were mist-netted in the undisturbed area, whereas 18 species from 11 families were mist-netted in the disturbed area. Statistical analysis showed that the species diversity index differed significantly between undisturbed and disturbed areas.
Population surveys and species recognition for roosting bats are either based on capture, sight or optical-mechanical count methods. However, these methods are intrusive, are tedious and, at best, provide only statistical estimations. Here, we demonstrated the successful use of a terrestrial Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) laser scanner for remotely identifying and determining the exact population of roosting bats in caves. LIDAR accurately captured the 3D features of the roosting bats and their spatial distribution patterns in minimal light. The high-resolution model of the cave enabled an exact count of the visibly differentiated Hipposideros larvatus and their roosting pattern within the 3D topology of the cave. We anticipate that the development of LIDAR will open up new research possibilities by allowing researchers to study roosting behaviour within the topographical context of a cave's internal surface, thus facilitating rigorous quantitative characterisations of cave roosting behaviour.
Taman Negara Pulau Pinang (Penang National Park) is the only site on Pulau Pinang that supports a large population of the White-bellied Sea-eagle (WBSE) Haliaeetus leucogaster; however, the nesting sites of WBSEs have not been widely studied. As information on the location of WBSE nesting sites is very important for conservation works by local authorities, the objective of this study was to determine the distribution of nesting WBSEs in the coastal dipterocarp forest of Penang National Park. Surveys were conducted from December 2007 to July 2008 and October 2008 to April 2009, covering the breeding season of the species (September-July). The nesting sites were observed by boat along the coastline of Penang National Park and by performing ground surveys along the seashore at accessible areas; the nest survey was conducted three days/month from 0900 to 1500. A total of 34 WBSE nesting sites was located. Most of the occupied nests (seven nests) were found at Muka Head and Pantai Kerachut areas, which exhibit the densest concentration of occupied WBSE habitat in Penang National Park. WBSEs preferred to build their nests around Muka Head, which could be due to the frequent occurrence of whirlpools in the water body around that area. Aquatic animals, such as sea snakes and fish, stunned by the whirlpools would emerge to the sea surface, facilitating the foraging and feeding of WBSEs. Our results indicate that it is important to maintain and improve areas of suitable nesting habitat for WBSEs. Management actions should include (1) the yearly monitoring of known breeding sites throughout Penang National Park during the breeding season to determine breeding success over time, (2) recognising the critical habitat or nest-site selection of WBSEs, (3) establishment of a buffer zone surrounding nesting sites and potential habitat from human disturbance, and (4) encouraging on-going research to further understand this species.
We examined the olfactory and visual abilities of megachiropteran bats, Cynopterus sphinx, for discrimination of the odour and shape of the banana fruit, Musa sp. We conducted the experiments in captive conditions by offering a selection of ripe bananas, blended bananas and artificial bananas. The behaviour of the bats was observed visually, and the percentage of activity and rest, duration of the first foraging bout, number of feeding attempts and the average duration of successful attempts was recorded for each bat. The bats exhibited an increased number of visits to ripe bananas and blended banana fruits. However, the artificial fruit did not evoke any response. Our study suggests that odour cues are more important than visual cues for the location of fruits by C. sphinx.
Studies of habitat suitability (HS) are essential when animals' habitats have been altered or when animals migrate to a habitat different from their natural habitat. This study assessed HS and used an integrated geographic information system in the assessment of Rattus norvegicus in a highly developed urban environment. Using data from the Campbell market and the police quarters of George Town, Malaysia, home range (through the use of 100% Minimum Convex Polygon [MCP], 95% MCP and 95% Harmonic Mean [HM]) was estimated. Home range for male rats at Campbell market reached an asymptote, with a slight increase, at 96 radio fixes (home range = 133.52 m(2); core area = 29.39 m(2)). Female rats reached an asymptote at 62 radio fixes (home range = 13.38 m(2); core area = 9.17 m(2)). At Campbell market, male rats emerged at 1900 hours every day, whereas females emerged at 2000 hours; at police quarters, the most common time of emergence for males was 2000 hours and for females was 2200. Raster charts of R. norvegicus showed that rat hot spots can be grouped into 4 zones (market, shop houses, settlement and general places). The standardised raster chart isolated the market as the major rallying points of the rats (hot spots) by producing the highest rats frequencies of 255. All of the habitat suitability thresholds, including the built-up points, skip bins, water source and nature of the site explored in this study, produced a structural pattern (monotonic increase or decrease) of habitat suitability.
We present an assessment of the diversity of Malaysian bats at two contrasting habitat types (secondary forest and oil palm plantation) along the Kerian River surveyed between February 2009 and February 2010. Three hundred and twenty nine individual bats from 13 species representing 4 families were recorded using 10 mist nets. The most commonly caught bat in the secondary forest was Cynopterus brachyotis (n=75), followed by Macroglossus minimus (n=10). Meanwhile, in the oil palm plantation, the most commonly caught bat was Cynopterus brachyotis (n=109), followed by Cynopterus horsfieldi (n=76). The netting efforts were equal for both habitat types. The total sampling nights for each habitat type was 5460. The oil palm plantation had a greater bat abundance that was significantly different from that of the secondary forest, with 209 and 120 individuals, respectively (Mann-Whitney U-test = 31.5, p<0.05). Our results suggest that there is no significant difference in species richness between the two sites. However, the invasion by disturbance-associated species of the secondary forest is indicative of negative effects on the forest and animal diversity in this area. Forest managers should consider multiple measures of forest fragmentation sensitivity before making any forest management decisions.
A study of the population size of Bandicota bengalensis rats in three markets in Penang was conducted from April 2004 through May 2005. Taman Tun Sardon Market (TTS), Batu Lanchang Market (BTLG) and Bayan Lepas Market (BYNLP) were surveyed. Six sampling sessions were conducted in each market for four consecutive nights per session. The total captures of B. bengalensis in TTS, BTLG and BYNLP were 92%, 73% and 89% respectively. The total population of B. bengalensis in TTS was estimated as 265.4 (with a 95% confidence interval of 180.9-424.2). The total population at BTLG was estimated as 69.9 (with a 95% confidence interval of 35.5-148.9). At BYNLP, the total population was estimated as 134.7 (with a 95% confidence interval of 77.8-278.4). In general, adult male rats were captured most frequently at each site (55.19%), followed by adult females (31.69%), juvenile males (9.84%) and juvenile females (3.27%). The results showed that the number of rats captured at each site differed significantly according to sex ratio and maturity (χ(2) = 121.45, df = 3, p<0.01). Our results suggest that the population sizes found by the study may not represent the actual population size in each market owing to the low numbers of rats recaptured. This finding might have resulted from the variety of foods available in the markets.
The diversity and the feeding guilds of birds in three different habitats (secondary forest, oil palm plantation and paddy field) were investigated in riparian areas of the Kerian River Basin (KRB), Perak, Malaysia. Point-count observation and mist-netting methods were used to determine bird diversity and abundance. A total of 132 species of birds from 46 families were recorded in the 3 habitats. Species diversity, measured by Shannon's diversity index, was 3.561, 3.183 and 1.042 in the secondary forest, the paddy field and the oil palm plantation, respectively. The vegetation diversity and the habitat structure were important determinants of the number of bird species occurring in an area. The relative abundance of the insectivore, insectivore-frugivore and frugivore guilds was greater in the forest than in the monoculture plantation. In contrast, the relative abundance of the carnivore, granivore and omnivore guilds was higher in the plantation. The results of the study show that the conversion of forest to either oil palm plantation or paddy fields produced a decline in bird diversity and changes in the distribution of bird feeding guilds.
A new species of limestone karst-adapted gecko of the Cyrtodactylus pulchellus complex, C. dayangbuntingensis sp. nov., is described from Dayang Bunting Island of the Langkawi Archipelago off the northwest coast of Peninsular Malaysia. It is the third species of the group to be described from the archipelago after C. langkawiensis and C. macrotuberculatus. The new species can be distinguished from all other species of Cyrtodactylus based on molecular evidence from the mitochondrial gene ND2 and its flanking tRNAs as well as having unique combinations of morphological and color pattern characteristics. This discovery underscores the need for continued surveys of the many islands in the archipelago to properly ascertain its true herpetological diversity.
Palm oil (PO) is an important source of livelihood, but unsustainable practices and widespread consumption may threaten human and planetary health. We reviewed 234 articles and summarized evidence on the impact of PO on health, social and economic aspects, environment, and biodiversity in the Malaysian context, and discuss mitigation strategies based on the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The evidence on health impact of PO is equivocal, with knowledge gaps on whether moderate consumption elevates risk for chronic diseases, but the benefits of phytonutrients (SDG2) and sensory characteristics of PO seem offset by its high proportion of saturated fat (SDG3). While PO contributes to economic growth (SDG9, 12), poverty alleviation (SDG1, 8, 10), enhanced food security (SDG2), alternative energy (SDG9), and long-term employment opportunities (SDG1), human rights issues and inequities attributed to PO production persist (SDG8). Environmental impacts arise through large-scale expansion of monoculture plantations associated with increased greenhouse gas emissions (SDG13), especially from converted carbon-rich peat lands, which can cause forest fires and annual trans-boundary haze; changes in microclimate properties and soil nutrient content (SDG6, 13); increased sedimentation and change of hydrological properties of streams near slopes (SDG6); and increased human wildlife conflicts, increase of invasive species occurrence, and reduced biodiversity (SDG14, 15). Practices such as biological pest control, circular waste management, multi-cropping and certification may mitigate negative impacts on environmental SDGs, without hampering progress of socioeconomic SDGs. While strategies focusing on improving practices within and surrounding plantations offer co-benefits for socioeconomic, environment and biodiversity-related SDGs, several challenges in achieving scalable solutions must be addressed to ensure holistic sustainability of PO in Malaysia for various stakeholders.
Supplementary Information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11625-021-01052-4.
A comprehensive 8-yr survey of acarine ectoparasites (ticks and mites) of bats was carried out in 18 localities from 2002 to 2009. Most of the surveys were conducted during 14 national biodiversity scientific expeditions throughout Malaysia. The objective was to identify acarines of known public health importance from bats and thus determine whether there is any potential public health risk in Malaysia. Trapping of bats was conducted using Harp traps and Mist nets. In total, 1,579 individuals comprising of 6 families and 52 species of bats were examined alive. In general, 25.6% of the bats were infested with acarines. Infestation rates of ticks, mesostigmatid mites, and chiggers on bats examined were 0.4, 10.4, and 14.7%, respectively. Their prevalence and mean intensity were tabulated. Genera of ticks extracted were Amblyomma, Dermacentor, Ixodes, and Ornithodoros. Of these genera, only two species can be identified to species level and they are Amblyomma cordiferum and Ixodes simplex. In total, 8 genera and 15 species of mesostigmatid mites were found; the species were Ancystropus eonycteris, Ancystropus zeleborii, Echinonysus nasutus, Laelaps aingworthae, Laelaps nuttalli, Laelaps sanguisugus, Laelaps sculpturatus, Longolaelaps longulus, Longolaelaps whartonii, Meristaspis lateralis, Meristaspis macroglossi, Paraperiglischrus rhinolophinus, Spinturnix acuminatus, Spinturnix americanus, and Spinturnix bakeri. Chiggers on bats were represented by 12 genera and 6 species; the species identified were Gahrliepia fletcheri, Riedlinia lipoxena, Trombigastia cadei, Walchiella impar, Walchiella oudemansi, and Whartonia caobangensis. The study produced an up-to-date list of acarine ectoparasites of bats in Malaysia where a total of 38 genera and 47 species of acarines were listed. Findings of the study demonstrated that 5 genera and 1 species of acarines that may pose potential health risks, can be found on bats.
Conversion of tropical forests into oil palm plantations reduces the habitats of many species, including primates, and frequently leads to human-wildlife conflicts. Contrary to the widespread belief that macaques foraging in the forest-oil palm matrix are detrimental crop pests, we show that the impact of macaques on oil palm yield is minor. More importantly, our data suggest that wild macaques have the potential to act as biological pest control by feeding on plantation rats, the major pest for oil palm crops, with each macaque group estimated to reduce rat populations by about 3,000 individuals per year (mitigating annual losses of 112 USD per hectare). If used for rodent control in place of the conventional method of poison, macaques could provide an important ecosystem service and enhance palm oil sustainability.
Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira and most often acquired through contact with environments contaminated with leptospires shed in the urine of infected mammals. In urban environment, rodents are well-known as the main carriers of this bacteria, however there were no intensive study on the population structure of these animals, and how it associated with this disease. Hence, we use a case study from an outbreak in a residential area in Selangor, Malaysia, to investigate how community structure of small mammals, associated with the prevalence of Leptospira. One hundred cage traps were placed randomly in and around these houses in five phases with two months interval for a year. Community structures (species, sex, and age) were assigned for each individual, prior to screening for pathogenic Leptospira, using a partial lipL32 gene from the kidney samples. 185 small mammals from four species were captured, Rattus norvegicus (74.5%, N=138), R. rattus (20%, N=37), Tupaia glis (5%, N=9), and Suncus murinus (0.5%, N=1). From this number, 29 individuals were found PCR positive for pathogenic Leptospira (R. norvegicus, N=20; R. rattus, N=6; T. glis, N=2; S. murinus, N=1). The study shows that Leptospira occurrence in the small mammals were significantly correlated to age category and sampling phases, with Spearman Correlation (rs) p=0.02 and p=0.04 respectively. Adult individuals were significantly more prevalent with Leptospira infection, whereby March and June were found to associate with higher Leptospira prevalent among the small mammals, potentially coincide with low rainfall and relative humidity level. This information is important in designing a specific control method for rodents in Leptospira outbreak areas. In addition, intensive sampling and regular cleaning effort were found to significantly reduce the small mammal Leptospira reservoir, thus should be implemented in intervention strategies in the urban environment.
Leptospirosis, a widespread zoonotic disease, is a public health problem, especially in major urban centres, and is mainly reported to be associated with rats. In Malaysia, focus has been primarily given to the Leptospira prevalence in rodents per se, but there is lack of information on the microhabitat structure of the outbreak areas. We aimed to determine the diversity of small mammal species, microhabitat types, and their prevalence of pathogenic Leptospira spp. in the outbreak areas, which were categorized as urban, semi-urban, and recreational forests. Sampling involved deploying 100 to 300 live traps at each study site. Kidney samples were extracted from selected individuals, for screening of pathogenic Leptospira spp. by PCR. Out of 537 individuals from 15 small mammal species captured, 4 species were recorded from urban, 13 from semi-urban, and 11 from recreational forest sites. From 389 individuals screened, 58 were tested positive for pathogenic Leptospira. Recreational forests recorded the highest prevalence with 19.4% (n = 93), followed by urban, 16.6% (n = 163) and semi-urban sites with 9.8% (n = 133). Seven rodent species were tested positive for pathogenic Leptospira from all areas. R. norvegicus was found to harbour the highest prevalence (66.7%) in urban, R. rattus (53.8%) in semi-urban, whereby M. whiteheadi (44.4%) in recreational forest sites. Microhabitat analysis revealed that rubbish quantity contributed especially strongly to a high prevalence of Leptospira. This study contributes to understanding of the host and microhabitat preferences of Leptospira, which is important in controlling the spread of this disease in human's landscapes.
In primates, living in an anthropogenic environment can significantly improve an individual's fitness, which is likely attributed to access to anthropogenic food resources. However, in non-professionally provisioned groups, few studies have examined whether individual attributes, such as dominance rank and sex, affect primates' ability to access anthropogenic food. Here, we investigated whether rank and sex explain individual differences in the proportion of anthropogenic food consumed by macaques. We observed 319 individuals living in nine urban groups across three macaque species. We used proportion of anthropogenic food in the diet as a proxy of access to those food resources. Males and high-ranking individuals in both sexes had significantly higher proportions of anthropogenic food in their diets than other individuals. We speculate that unequal access to anthropogenic food resources further increases within-group competition, and may limit fitness benefits in an anthropogenic environment to certain individuals.