By Ashleigh Seow, MYCAT Citizen Conservation Specialist
Hunting, evidenced in the numbers of gunshots heard by us or experienced volunteers, spiked in the period before the end of the Ramadan fasting month, when feasting and celebration is widespread. However, this is seasonal hunting for the pot rather than for profit. After the celebrations were over, no gunfire, except pest control in the oil palm plantations and orchards, has been heard.
Overall it looks like the decline in poaching we saw in 2014 is continuing and the number of snares and threats found will be in low double digits or possibly even single numbers. This is cause for celebration when compared to the bleak poaching picture in many other areas.
This reduction in poaching does not seem to be related to a decline in biodiversity and wildlife numbers. Our camera trapping, assisted by the Nature Society of Singapore, indicates that the Sungai Yu Wildlife Corridor is still being used by a diverse array of wildlife, with serow, clouded leopard, gaur and elephants resident or transient in the corridor.
There seems to be more sambar which is good news for tigers. We were also amused to find a poacher camera-trapped at 3 am in one of the cameras. By the way he was equipped (with a slingshot) we think he was after frogs or chevrotain (mousedeer).
Another entertaining photograph was seeing two porcupines in what seems to be a “Mexican standoff” though possibly it was a prelude to mating!