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Assessing the conservation status of the tiger Panthera tigris at priority sites in Peninsular Malaysia

Antony J. Lynam c1, Ruth Laidlawa1, Wan Shaharuddin Wan Noordina2, Sivananthan Elagupillaya2 and Elizabeth L. Bennetta1

a1 Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Boulevard, New York 10460, USA.

a2 Department of Wildlife and National Parks, KM 10 Jalan Cheras, 56100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Abstract

Wildlife managers require status and distribution information for informed decisions. Recognizing the tiger's globally threatened status and potential as an umbrella species for protection of forested landscapes, camera trap surveys for tigers and other large mammals have been conducted since 1997 in Peninsular Malaysia with the aim of assessing the population status of tigers in the Peninsula. Results from surveys at nine sites between December 1997 and December 1999 are reported here. Tigers were confirmed from six sites in the Main Range and Greater Taman Negara landscape, with multiple locations inside putative priority tiger areas. Although the data were collected 8 years ago, they are supplemented with more recent information, including tiger-human conflict investigations during 2000–2005 that indicate tiger persistence at these sites. Tiger density estimates were 0.51–1.95 tigers per 100 km2. With results from other surveys, this suggests a national population of up to several hundred tigers. A thorough survey, with sufficient resources, should be carried out in the future to derive a more reliable tiger population estimate for Malaysia. Key threats are habitat loss and fragmentation, hunting of prey, commercial trade in tiger parts, and harassment and displacement. Recommendations for the recovery of tigers in Peninsular Malaysia are provided.

(Received January 02 2006)

(Reviewed July 10 2006)

(Accepted October 24 2006)

Correspondence:

c1 Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Boulevard, New York 10460, USA. E-mail tlynam@wcs.org

Footnotes

This paper contains supplementary material that can be found online at http://journals.cambridge.org

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