Malayan Sunbear and Bearded Pig Research

To study the effects of selective logging on Malayan sunbears and bearded pigs in Malaysia


Tropical rainforests contain valuable timber and are therefore increasingly logged. Logged forests may be converted into tree plantations or agricultural land. The Malayan sun bear, the bearded pig and many other species that are forest-dependent fulfil important ecological functions, such as seed predation, seed dispersal and seed bed preparation. However, very little is known about these animals, much less the impact of habitat loss and change on them. The sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) is rated “Data Deficient” by IUCN. The still widely distributed bearded pig (Sus. b. barbatus) is rated “Lower Risk” but is believed to be declining in numbers owing to continued attrition of habitat and severe hunting pressure throughout its increasingly fragmented range.


To investigate the effects of selective logging on two large mammals in the lowland tropical rainforest of Borneo, the Malayan sun bear  and the bearded pig, a research project has been initiated in the Ulumu Forest Reserve and Danum Valley in Sabah. This study compares ecological parameters – habitat preference, diet, behaviour and activity – of Malayan sun bears and bearded pigs in primary and logged forests. This involves fruit and invertebrate sampling, collection of animal scats and signs (wallows, claw marks, signs of pig rubbing, etc) and radio-tracking of tagged animals. The promotion of conservation awareness of sun bears, bearded pigs and tropical rainforests of Borneo through talks and presentations is also incorporated into this study.


WAZA Conservation Project 06006 is implemented by Mr. Wong, Siew Te of the University of Montana and is supported by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Woodland Park Zoo, Singapore Zoo, Minnesota Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, and Little Rock Zoo, as well as by the University of Montana, International Association for Bear Research and Management, Bukit Damansara Elementary School, and Alexandra Abraham Foundation.


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