Sumatra, Indonesia wildlife on camera traps


This 2019 video about Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in Sumatra is in Indonesian with English subtitles.

From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, News Bureau in the USA:

Camera trap study captures Sumatran tigers, clouded leopards, other rare beasts

February 24, 2020

Scientists deployed motion-sensitive camera traps across a 50-square-mile swath of Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in southern Sumatra and, over the course of eight years, recorded the haunts and habits of dozens of species, including the Sumatran tiger and other rare and endangered wildlife. Their observations offer insight into how abundant these species are and show how smaller creatures avoid being eaten by tigers and other carnivores.

They report their findings in the journal Animal Biodiversity and Conservation.

“A lot of my research focuses on natural history, where I’m trying to understand behaviors and aspects of ecology that no one has been able to record before,” said Max Allen, a wildlife ecologist at the Illinois Natural History Survey who led the research. “And camera traps are a good way to document a community of terrestrial animals.” The INHS is a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The cameras captured a total of 39 animal species, including critically endangered Sumatran tigers, Sumatran elephants and Sunda pangolins, as well as carnivores including Asian golden cats, marbled cats, Sunda clouded leopards, Malayan sun bears and masked palm civets.

The frequency and time of sightings revealed that the tigers were most active during the day, with the majority of sightings in midday. The species that compete with tigers as top carnivores appeared to be doing their best to avoid going out during the tigers’ peak activity times.

For example, camera sightings of Sumatran clouded leopards — which are not strictly nocturnal — dropped off precipitously in the hours before noon and picked up a bit in late evening, when tigers were rarely seen. Sumatran tigers and Sunda clouded leopards compete for larger prey, and tigers are likely to attack them on sight, Allen said.

The behavior of smaller cats, however, suggests that they do not fear or actively avoid tigers.

“The daytime activity of the marbled cat, for example, actually overlaps highly with that of the tigers,” Allen said. It’s likely the marbled cats are small enough to be eating prey — like rodents — that are of no consequence to tigers.

The camera traps recorded 28 species not seen in earlier surveys, including the critically endangered Sunda pangolin, and the endangered dhole and otter civet. Surveys from previous studies captured eight species that the camera traps missed, however. These include the critically endangered Sumatran rhinoceros, the endangered dark-handed gibbon and the endangered hairy-nosed otter.

Despite their limitations, camera traps often capture things that people surveying in the wild will miss, Allen said.

“There are a lot of interesting behaviors that we just can’t capture through classic field methods that camera trapping allows us to document,” he said. For example, in an earlier camera-trap study of Sunda clouded leopards in Borneo, Allen and his colleagues discovered that the male clouded leopards would scent mark, scratching and urinating to establish their territory and to attract mates — something other researchers had never observed before.

“There are gaps in our knowledge that camera traps can fill,” Allen said. “It would be difficult to document these behaviors and interactions by other means.”

Conservation International, Missouri Botanical Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Wildlife Conservation Society, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and INHS supported this research.

Fossil fuel corporation threatens Sumatran tigers


This 26 December 2019 video says about itself:

Saving Sumatran tigers becomes a challenge amid Indonesia’s coal boom

As Indonesia invests in coal expansion, conservationists say species like the critically endangered Sumatran tiger are losing their territory.

Sekalak village in southern Sumatra lies in one of the last remaining strongholds of the Sumatran tiger, a big cat species that the locals revere as both an ancestral spirit and the guardian of the forest. However, the presence of a coal-mining operation in the area poses a threat to both the tigers and the villagers’ way of life.

Read more here.

New frog species discovery in Indonesia


This video says about itself:

Borneo Eared Frog or Bony Headed Flying Frog – Polypedates otilophus

30 January 2014

This interesting frog species can be found in Borneo, Sumatra and other Indonesian islands. Read more about various frog species here. This frog has interesting shaped legs which give it the ability to glide. The flying frog of Borneo also has bony protrusions behind its eyes which give it the appearance of having ears. It is also sometimes called the File-eared tree frog. In this video I show a few different frogs. This was taken at a chorus of colors exhibit.

From ScienceDaily:

Life in the fast flow: Tadpoles of new species rely on ‘suction cups’ to keep up

The frogs living in the rainforest of Sumatra also represent a new genus

March 12, 2018

Summary: The young of two new species and a genus of frog found to inhabit Sumatra’s rainforests have developed a unique ability to latch onto rocks in the fast-flowing rivers, using bellies crafted by evolution into ‘suction cups’. Herpetologists use their remarkable discovery to highlight the unique biodiversity of the island, which is under imminent threat due to rampant habitat modification and deforestation.

Indonesia, a megadiverse country spanning over 17,000 islands located between Australia and mainland Asia, is home to more than 16% of the world’s known amphibian and reptile species, with almost half of the amphibians found nowhere else in the world. Unsurprisingly, biodiversity scientists have been feverishly discovering and describing fascinating new animals from the exotic island in recent years.

Such is the case of an international team from the University of Hamburg, Germany, University of Texas at Arlington, USA, University of Bern, Switzerland and Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia, who came across a curious tadpole while collecting amphibian larvae from fast-flowing streams as part of an arduous expedition in the remote forests on the island of Sumatra.

To the amazement of the scientists, it turned out that the tadpoles possess a peculiar cup-like structure on their bellies, in addition to the regular oral disk found in typical tadpoles. As a result, the team described two new species and a genus in the open access journal Zoosystematics and Evolution. A previously known, but misplaced in an unsuitable genus, frog was also added to the group, after it was proved that it takes advantage of the same modification.

“This phenomenon where tadpoles display ‘belly suckers’ is known as gastromyzophory and, albeit not unheard of, is a rare adaptation that is only found in certain toads in the Americas and frogs in Asia”, explains lead author Umilaela Arifin.

The abdominal sucker, it is hypothesized, helps these tadpoles to exploit a very special niche — fast-flowing streams — where the water would otherwise be too turbulent and rapid to hang around. Gastromyzophorous species, however, rely on the suction provided by their modified bellies to secure an exclusive access to plentiful food, such as algae, while the less adapted are simply washed away.

When the scientists took a closer look at the peculiar tadpoles and their adult forms, using a powerful combination of molecular and morphological data, they realized that they had not only stumbled upon a rare amphibian trait, but had also discovered two brand new species of frogs in the process.

Moreover, the animals turned out so distinct in their evolutionary makeup, compared to all other frogs, that the scientists had to create a whole new genus to accommodate them. Formally named Sumaterana, the genus is to be commonly referred to as Sumatran Cascade Frogs.

“We decided to call the new genus Sumaterana after Sumatra, to reflect the fact that these new species, with their rare evolutionary adaptation are endemic to Sumatra’s rainforests and, in a sense, are emblematic of the exceptional diversity of animals and plants on the island,” says co-author Dr. Utpal Smart. “Tragically, all of them are in peril today, given the current rate of deforestation.”

The authors agree that much more taxonomic work is still needed to determine and describe Sumatra’s herpetofaunal diversity, some of which they fear, could be irreversibly lost well before biologists have the chance to discover it.

Rhino poacher becomes pro-rhino conservation wood carver


South African felt rhino

From the International Rhino Foundation about this:

Wooden Sumatran Rhino

Hand-carved by a former poacher who now works in collaboration with our Rhino Protection Units to save Sumatran rhinos in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park.

Each statue is 6″ tall x 9.5″long x 3.75″ deep.

Dutch war crimes in Sumatra, Indonesia investigation


This video says about itself:

Shocking story of Dutch war veteran in Indonesia

12 January 2012

Story

In Tabee Toean – meaning ‘Goodbye Sir’ in Indonesian – five veterans of the Indonesian War of Independence (1945-1949) share their recollections, telling us how they as young soldiers, unprepared for guerrilla warfare, found themselves in a devil’s circle of excessive violence and cruelty.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Investigation into war crimes in Sumatra

Today, 10:18

The Netherlands has possibly committed war crimes on the Indonesian island Sumatra. The foundation Committee Dutch Debts of Honour (K.U.K.B.) now does research on that.

The foundation is investigating an air strike on Bandar Buat in 1947, the ANP news agency reports. In bombardments by fighter aircraft on the market there many civilians are said to have been hit.

For the research, witnesses and survivors are being sought who can provide more information about what happened at that time. If enough people will turn up, then the foundation will be able to bring a lawsuit in order to get compensation and recognition for the victims.

The Netherlands guilty

The K.U.K.B. has previously successfully litigated on Dutch war crimes in Indonesia. The foundation has, inter alia, litigated on behalf of widows and children of men who were executed in South Sulawesi and Java. The Dutch government was ultimately ruled to be liable for the damage they have suffered thereby.

Sumatran tigers, camera trap video


This video from Indonesia says about itself:

Rare Camera Trap Footage of Sumatran Tigers

Exciting footage of two wild tigers giving signals they are ready to mate captured by WWF’s camera trap in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, Sumatra.

Read more here.

A new scientific publication from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) and the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park Authority looks at the effectiveness of the park’s protection zone and finds that the density of Sumatran tigers has increased despite the continued threat of living in an ‘In Danger’ World Heritage Site: here.

A research expedition tracked endangered tigers through the Sumatran jungles for a year and found tigers are clinging to survival in low density populations. The study found that well-protected forests are disappearing and are increasingly fragmented: Of the habitat tigers rely on in Sumatra, 17 percent was deforested between 2000 to 2012 alone. Their findings have renewed fears about the possible extinction of the elusive predators: here.

Save Sumatran elephants


This video is called Sumatran Elephant Emergency Appeal.

It says about itself:

26 June 2014

An emergency appeal has been launched by the Rapid Response Facility (RRF) for local conservation group HAkA, in response to a significant increase in poaching of Sumatran elephants in Aceh, Indonesia.

The appeal will allow the HAkA teams (made up of local community members and trained conservation professionals) to carry out essential patrols in the Leuser ecosystem throughout July, to remove snares from this key Sumatran elephant corridor during the most intense hunting period.

Visit here to donate.

Wildlife Extra adds:

There are just 500 Sumatran elephants, which are the smallest of the Asian elephants, left and they live in fragmented habitats, as almost 70 per cent of elephant-suitable habitat has been destroyed in the last 25 years.

As a result of this their home, the tropical forests of the Leuser Ecosystem, is part of a designated World Heritage Site in Danger.

And conservationists fear that an increase in poaching could drive this number down even further.

In the first five months of this year, local conservation group HAkA has found and destroyed 139 snares – already more than in the whole of 2013.

Limited forest cover also means that elephants can easily be trapped in small areas, making them easier targets for poachers.

Baby elephant video from Indonesia


This video from Indonesia says about itself:

Baby elephant learns to use her trunk

20 Dec 2013

This adorable baby elephant was born to a mother who is part of an elite team of critically endangered Sumatran elephants that help protect communities from conflict with wild elephants in Indonesia.

She’s nearly 4 months old, growing fast and starting to imitate her mother’s behaviour. Here it looks like she’s getting to grips with using her trunk!

Read more about the fantastic work of WWF-Indonesia’s elephant Flying Squad and the newest addition here.

Save Indonesian wildlife


This video from Indonesia says about itself:

EYES ON LEUSER september 2012

This video shows several species of wildlife filmed in the mountains of the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia by using video camera traps.

From Mongabay.com:

Environmentalists call for recognition of orangutan, rhino habitat as heritage site

December 11, 2013

Environmentalists in Indonesia’s Aceh Province are calling upon the local governor to nominate the Leuser Ecosystem as a UNESCO World Heritage Site to help protect the area — one of the last places where rhinos, elephants, tigers, and orangutans share the same habitat — from new legislation that would grant large blocks of forest for logging concessions, mining, and industrial plantations.

The push comes in the form of [a] Change.org petition and a simultaneous on-the-ground campaign.

“The Leuser Ecosystem (Kawasan Ekosistem Leuser / KEL) has long been recognized as an irreplaceable ecosystem to the people of Aceh, providing approximately four million people with clean water for downstream irrigation, agriculture and food production,” states the petition. “For these reasons, to support the community, sustainable development, biodiversity and long-term health of Aceh as a great region, We would like to build on this international recognition by suggesting that [Aceh governor Zaini Abdullah] consider nominating KEL to become a new UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

“As a World Heritage Site, the Leuser Ecosystem would remain part of the legal territory of Aceh but UNESCO considers it in the interests of the international community to preserve each site,” the petition continues. “Therefore World Heritage status would give KEL special recognition and further support from the international community.”

Governor Zaini Abdullah is preparing to sign a revision of the Aceh’s spatial plan, which governs land use in the province. Heavy lobbying by mining, logging, and palm oil companies has resulted in large carve-outs for forest conversion. Environmentalists say the proposed changes would diminish important ecological services, increase the likelihood of flooding and landslides, and put endangered wildlife at greater risk. Leuser’s biodiversity led it to be recently cited in the journal Science as one of the world’s most irreplaceable protected areas.

Campaigners argue that the proposed revision is in fact illegal. Petition sponsor M. Nur, Director of WALHI Aceh (Friends of the Earth Aceh, said that as a “National Strategic Area with Protection Functions”, Leuser is off-limits to activities proposed in the new spatial plan.

“The draft Regulation proposed contravenes Aceh Governance Law No 11 / 2006, National Law No 26/2007 on Spatial Planning and Government Regulation No 26/2008, also on Spatial Planning,” Nur said in a statement. “If he still proceeds to sign it, we will have no choice but to seek a Judicial Review by the Supreme Court.”

Part of the greater Leuser ecosystem has already been lost to oil palm plantations. The Tripa peninsula was home to some 60,000 hectares of primary peat swamp forest in 1990 and some 3,000 orangutans. Conversion of the area for plantations has left only scraps of degraded forest and a small population of critically endangered orangutans. One of the small surviving patches of forest was last year cleared by PT Kallista Alam, a palm oil company, despite protection under a nation-wide moratorium on new conversion permits in peatlands and primary forests. That incident led to legal complaints and a court case against the company. A decision in that case is expected at the end of the month.

Sign the petition to save Aceh: here.

Tiger poachers thwarted in Indonesia


This video says about itself:

May 9, 2011

For more information: www.wwf.or.id/savesumatra

This forest is under imminent threat of being cleared by the pulp and paper industry, despite being designated a “global priority Tiger Conservation Landscape”.

WWF urges the industry to save this and other tiger forests from destruction.

Footage taken in March 2011 by automatic video cameras in a wildlife corridor connecting Rimbang Baling Wildlife Sanctuary and Bukit Tigapuluh National Park in Riau and Jambi Province in Sumatra, Indonesia. Within only 2 months 12 different tigers were identified in a 50,000 ha forest block surveyed with the cameras.

Video is courtesy of WWF Indonesia’s Tiger Research Team and PHKA.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rangers destroy 40 active tiger snares in Sumatra’s Kerinci Seblat National Park

Tiger Protection and Conservation Units hailed for their heroic efforts in this year’s Great Kerinci Snare Sweep.

August 2013. In any competition there are winners and losers. But for Tiger Protection & Conservation Unit rangers taking part in this year’s Great Kerinci Snare Sweep, even victory was marred by concern as the results revealed a huge rise in threat to Sumatran tigers from purpose-built snares.

Runs during Ramadan

The Great Kerinci Snare Sweep is an annual competition that began in 2011 and offers bonuses to tiger protection rangers in the long-running Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and Kerinci Seblat National Park Sumatran tiger protection and conservation programme. The snare sweep starts just before (and runs for the duration of) the holy month of Ramadan and offers bonuses to the Tiger Protection and Conservation Units (TPCUs) that find and destroy the most active snares in the national park during forest patrols.

All snares rewarded

Although the emphasis is on finding and destroying active tiger snares, points are also awarded for destroying snares targeting deer and other smaller mammals, as well as removing snares and mist nets used for capturing wild birds.

Over the course of the five week snare sweep, the six TPCUs destroyed a truly shocking 40 active tiger snares (by comparison, in the whole of 2011 a total of 11 active snares were found on three of the 91 patrols conducted) along with 564 active deer snares and 79 bird snares.

Arrests

They also arrested two deer poachers (who placed a total of 270 snares in a single area) and a further nine men (from another park-edge province and district) on suspicion of poaching helmeted hornbills; these individuals were later released on bail, their high-powered air guns confiscated.

Tip-offs

Of the tiger snares destroyed, 80% were found as a result of covert investigations or tip-offs from forest-edge community informants, while more than half the deer snares destroyed were also found as a result of ‘information received.’

Tigers recorded

Not all was bad news though – the ranger units also made 29 Sumatran tiger presence records during this period – including two units reporting disturbed nights’ sleep due to what the team traditionally describe as ‘an orchestra’ but others might describe as tigers roaring.

Lone rangers

As its name suggests, the Sumatran tiger is found only on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and is the country’s last remaining subspecies.

Although population estimates vary, the most recent research indicates that around 500-700 of these animals remain in the wild, with numbers in decline due to illegal poaching (primarily for their skin and bones) and through habitat loss for plantations, small holder agriculture and mining.

Tigers are primarily solitary animals that require large territories and a good supply of prey, making them an excellent ‘umbrella species’; not only does their presence (or absence) indicate the overall health of an ecosystem, but conservation efforts that target tigers inevitably benefit other species as well.

In 2011, an island-wide survey (the first of its kind) found that Sumatran tigers were widely distributed across the 1.38 million hectare (5,300 square mile) Kerinci Seblat National Park, highlighting not only the importance of the area for this big cat, but also the significance and magnitude of the TPCUs’ task.

A seasonal surge, or something more sinister?

The TPCU ranger units (which consist of members of forest-edge communities contracted through FFI and national park rangers on secondment to the programme) work from base camps to the east and west of the national park. During the course of this year’s snare sweep, TPCUs conducted 26 forest patrols, spending just over 110 days in the forest and walking a distance of well over 200 km – an heroic effort, given that the last three weeks coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, when most of the rangers, as devout Muslims, were fasting (from both food and water) from dawn to dusk.

Ramadan sees a surge in poaching

The Ramadan period sees a surge in poaching in many areas around the national park as the Fast is traditionally broken with special meals – including venison – while poachers are happy to satisfy demand and reap the profit. And because these snares are indiscriminate, they threaten not only deer (key tiger prey) but also other non-target species, including tigers themselves. Hari Raya Idul Fitri, a huge celebration marking the end of the fasting month, only adds to the incentive to poach.

However by 2010, patrols and other actions had seen continuing year-on-year falls in both tiger and deer poaching in the teams’ focus patrol areas, even during the Ramadan period, as hunters realised there was a strong likelihood of their snares being destroyed (and so either stopped or sought other, safer, sites to hunt).

The Great Kerinci Snare Sweep was established in 2011 as a novel way to incentivise TPCU rangers to seek out remaining deer and other poaching hotspots while rewarding them for working so hard in a period when many try to avoid hard physical labour. But the results from this year’s sweep seem to confirm a worrying trend.

“Over the last year, forest patrols and investigations have recorded a deeply disturbing surge in threat, both in the number of snares found on patrol and in suspected trade in tiger body parts,” says Debbie Martyr (the Kerinci team leader), who believes there is strong evidence that the demand is from overseas, not Indonesia, and is highly organised.

“Deeply alaming”

“We know from team investigations that huge sums of money are being brandished to tempt former poachers back into the forest to hunt tigers, while the cartels we believe responsible are very difficult to penetrate. It is deeply alarming that the team has found so many tiger snares in such a short period of time, but hardly surprising given what we have learned in the last 18 months.”

Battle plans

As the TPCU rangers pack up for a well-earned break, plans are underway to hold a ‘council of war’ at the team’s main base camp to discuss the explosion in tiger poaching in and around Kerinci Seblat National Park and how to take action against the organised syndicates behind the problem.

In the meantime, back-up teams remain in place, ready – as always – to respond to emergencies.

November 2013: IUCN’s Global Protected Areas Programme and WWF have signed an agreement to develop the IUCN Green List of Protected Areas in a bid to promote tiger conservation through the WWF’s Tigers Alive initiative: here.

A tiger conservation programme managed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has received €20 million from the German government through the KfW Development Bank. The aim of the programme is to increase the number of tigers in the wild and improve the livelihoods of communities living in and close to their habitat: here.