A VIDEO that illustrates the importance on the need to save the Ulu Muda forest in Kedah has been released.
The video by the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) from Oxford University also appealed to the public to help preserve the forest’s ecosystem.
The greater Ulu Muda, a 160,000ha forest, is located in east Kedah.
Unfortunately, its ecosystem service of providing water supply and its wildlife are under threat from unsustainable logging, construction and poaching.
Ulu Muda functions as an important water catchment, providing as much as 96% of Kedah’s and 80% of Penang’s water supply.
This water irrigates Kedah’s vast rice fields which provide 40% of Malaysia’s rice supply.
It is also home to more than 130 vulnerable animal species such as the clouded leopard and the hornbill.
Parts of Ulu Muda are being selectively logged by the forestry department to generate revenue for Kedah.
WildCRU has conducted a research on the clouded leopard and other wildlife of Ulu Muda from 2014 to last year.
This research is led by Dr Cedric Tan, a post-doctoral researcher with WildCRU.
A study on the habitat preference of the clouded leopard across peninsular Malaysia revealed that this species prefers higher ground, further distances from water and sites with more forest cover.
Ulu Muda is predicted to have a higher than the average habitat suitability for the clouded leopard.
The intensive camera trap work over 1.5 years by WildCRU has revealed an immensely diverse assemblage of animal species residing within the forest complex.
Within just 120sq km of the camera grid, 54 species were detected, of which 37 were mammals, 15 birds and two reptiles.
Forty-three percent of mammals detected (16 species), four species of birds and one reptile species were considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list as near threatened, vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered.
Ulu Muda currently experiences active logging and illegal activities.
The researchers from WildCRU also encountered multiple signs of illegal poaching and harvesting activities.
In total, they found 20 gun shells, and six felled Agarwood trees.
The video was created via the collective efforts of 11 wildlife or ecotourism organisations.
“We hope this video will help the community understand the importance of Ulu Muda to our daily lives and our future generations,” said Dr Tan in a statement.
The video’s narrator, WildCRU director Prof David Macdonald said their massive efforts put into camera trapping had revealed the wildlife wonders of Ulu Muda.
“After gathering the evidence, we want it to impact policy, which is why I urge everybody to look at this video, then think about its powerful message and call for the protection of Ulu Muda,” he said.
For details or to sign an ongoing signature petition #SaveUluMuda, check out the Friends of Ulu Muda Facebook page.
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