The USM SFMP area home to the largest home/habitat of orangutans (the Bornean endemic Pongo pygmaeus morio) in North-eastern Borneo. It is here where the largest population of orangutans is found. They number some 5,000 individuals (Ancrenaz et al, 2005), which accounts to about half of the total orangutan population of Sabah. The USM SFMP area constitutes part of the largest remaining Malaysian unfragmented forested block in Sabah (Yayasan Sabah concession), which if managed conscientiously, will play a major role in harboring what may be the highest numbers of large Bornean mammals at present. This area is an important refuge for key wildlife species. Proper wildlife and habitat management is important for the long-term population viability of these animals.

The wildlife monitoring activities were carried out at two types of habitat treatment i.e. less disturbed forest at Malua Forest Reserve and heavily disturbed forest at Bukit Piton Forest Reserve (Figure 1). From the past FMP, both areas recorded sighting of rare threatened and endangered species under Malaysian National Interpretation which is fall under HCV 1 (Species Diversity). The observation and monitoring methods based on direct (physical) and indirect sighting i.e prints, sound, nest, dung and marking. And, all data gathering will keep up-to-date and undertake basic analyses based on comprehensive field manual of monitoring large terrestrial mammals in Sabah by Ancrenaz (2013) and others related field manual. Currently, wildlife monitoring activities being implemented at two different types of habitat i.e. less disturbed forest which respectively Malua and Ulu Segama Forest Reserve, and heavily disturbed forest at Bukit Piton Forest Reserve (Figure 1). The particular areas recorded sighting of rare, threatened and endangered (RTE) species under the Malaysian National Interpretation which is fall under HCV 1 (Species Diversity). The main activities carried out in 2020 such as ground Orangutan nest census and nightspot.



Figure 1: Location of Wildlife monitoring activities i.e. Malua FR and Bukit Piton FR


Ground Orang-utan Nest Census (2020)

Census findings in 2020 recorded that the Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus morio) densities ranges between 1.42 – 2.43 individual/km² in Malua Forest Reserve, and 1.92 - 3.18 individual/km² in Bukit Piton Forest Reserve. Some additional transect was established in year 2020 at Lower Kawag (which is in compartments 171/ 172, Ulu Segama Forest Reserve) and current densities is 0.89 individual/km2 (Figure 2 and Figure 3). As usual, the Orangutan nest abundantly detected at the medium size trees and lower crowns of dominant trees i.e. pioneers species (Neolamarckia cadamba, Pterospermum spp.). In 2020, data shows higher densities in heavily disturbed forest at Bukit Piton Forest Reserve compare to less disturb forest in Malua Forest Reserve. Ground census in Bukit Piton Forest Reserve shows an increment number of nests since year 2017 to 2019 but slightly decrease in year 2020. The fluctuated results could be affected by various factor i.e. food abundant along the line transect and effort (detectability) during the census. However, the population of Orangutan particularly at Bukit Piton Forest Reserve being slowly improve as most planted trees provide suitable canopy for Orangutan nest and foods.

Figure 2: Locations of six (6) Orangutan Nest census in Malua FR, Lower Kawag (Ulu Segama FR) and Bukit Piton FR




Figure 3: Graph of annual orangutan densities in five different study sites within Malua FR and Bukit Piton FR


Orangutan grounds census in Malua FR


Orangutan nest sighting at Malua FR

Opportunistic Wildlife Sightings (Adhoc)

At least 10 large terrestrial mammals were frequently sighted in 2020 and classified as threatened under IUCN red list criteria such as Bornean pygmy elephant, Bornean Orangutan, Pig tailed macaque, Beraded pig, North Bornean gibbon, Binturong, Slow loris, Bornean sun bear, Sunda pangolin and Proboscis monkey (Figure 4 & Figure 5). The opportunistic wildlife sighting shows an increment number in year 2020 compared to previous year. Bornean pygmy elephant is the most common and frequently sighted (0.32 sighting/day), follow by Bornean Orangutan (0.13 sighting/day), Pig tailed macaque (0.11 sighting/day) and Bearded pig (0.08 sighting/day). In addition, some large bird species were sighted i.e. three (3) hornbill species (Asian black, Rhinoceros and Bushy crested) and one Crested fireback. Asian black hornbill, Rhinoceros and Crested fireback known as near threatened species under IUCN red list criteria.

Currently, 58 species of large terrestrial mammals with 24 families were recorded within USM area since the previous FMP. Eight (8) species are classified as totally protected based on the Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997 i.e. Bos javanicus, Helarctos malayanus, Nasalis larvatus, Neofelis nebolusa, Pongo pygmaeus mario, Dicerorhinus sumatrensis, Elephas maximus and Sunda pangolin (Table 1), and more than 40 species classified under schedule II (protected species-limited hunting with license) and eight (8) species recorded under schedule III (protected species hunting with license).

Figure 4: Annual sightings of RTE wildlife within USM


Figure 5: Annual sightings of RTE wildlife within USM


Species (Common Name) Scientific Name WCE (SWD). 1997 Status IUCN Red list
Sumatran rhinoceros Dicerorhinus sumatrensis I Critically Endangered
Sunda pangolin Manis javanica I Critically Endangered
Bornean Orangutan Pongo pygmaeus morio I Critically Endangered
Bornean Banteng Bos javanicus I Endangered
Bornean Bay Cat Catopuma badia II Endangered
North Borneo Gibbon Hylobates funereus II Endangered
Bornean pygmy elephant Elephas maximus borneensis I Endangered
Flat headed cat Prionailurus planiceps II Endangered
Otter civet Cynogale bennettii II Endangered
Proboscis monkey Nasalis larvatus I Endangered
Bearded pig Sus barbatus III Vulnerable
Bearcat / Binturong Arctictis binturong II Vulnerable
Bornean Clouded Leopard Neofelis diardi I Vulnerable
Horsfield's tarsier Tarsius bancanus II Vulnerable
Sabah grey langur Presbytis sabana II Vulnerable
Small-clawed otter Anoyx cinerea II Vulnerable
Pig-tailed macaque Macaca nemestrina II Vulnerable
Sambar deer Cervus unicolor III Vulnerable
Slow loris Nycticebus sp II Vulnerable
Bornean Sun bear s Helarctos malayanu I Vulnerable
Tufted ground squirrel Rheithrosciurus macrotis II II Vulnerable

*Based on current IUCN red list status; Retrieved 20th February 2021


Opportunistic wildlife sighting at Bukit Piton FR (Bornean pygmy elephant)



Nightspot by using vehicle

The night survey in 2020 recorded with low detection of threatened wildlife species which ranging between 0.003-0.060 sighting/day/km. Nightspot indicates a different result whereby Sambar deer and Bearded pig were frequently sighted in Malua FR, whereby some species such as Slow loris, Clouded leopard, Western tarsier and Bornean pygmy elephant were sighted at Bukit Piton Forest Reserves. The nightspot series for Malua FR mostly postponed due road problem, and graph in figure 11 show that the differences in sampling effort between sites have not be accounted. But, general finding shown that Bukit Piton FR has detected more species variations (threatened species) comparing to Malua FR (Figure 11).


Figure 6: Patterns of some “threatened species” detection (average detection per day/km) during nightspot activities carried out within two (2) different habitat treatment in USM SFM project area for year 2020

Bird Survey

No additional of new bird species surveyed in 2020. Record for both areas maintain at 177 bird species whereby 6.21% or 11 of bird species were classified as threatened under the IUCN red list i.e. Helmeted hornbill, Storm's stork, Black crowned pitta, Blue headed pitta, Bornean wren babbler, Scaly-breasted Partridge, Great slaty woodpecker, Large billed blue flycatcher, Large green pigeon, Short toed coucal and Wallace's hawk eagle. Whereas, 93.79% or 166 of bird species classified as low risk.

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