Primate conservation in Maludam
The rare red banded langur now occurs
only in the dense, wet peat swamp forests of Maludam
Maludam National Park was gazetted in 2000, and is one of the largest stretches of protected peat swamp forests left in Sarawak. Currently, the park covers 43,147ha with another 10,475ha proposed for park extension.
Five species of diurnal primates are found here,
including the red banded langur, which is found nowhere else in
the world; they number less than 200, and are now restricted to
the remnant patches of tall forests. The proboscis monkey, a
Borneo endemic, also occurs here.
WCS started monitoring the primate population
in Maludam National Park in August 2002. Surveys were carried
out along Maludam River, the main river that flows through the
park. In April 2006, transects were extended into the core area
of the park, away from the river.
Proboscis monkeys like this large male with its
prominent nose are commonly seen along the Maludam River.
We found that the density of red banded langur
along Maludam River is about ten times higher than the density
in the core area of the park.
We believe that red banded langurs are more
concentrated along the river because this is where they come to
feed in the mornings and evenings, and sleep at night, a
behavior quite similar to the proboscis monkey. They usually
find an open branch to perch on to sleep so that they have an
unobstructed view of the surroundings and can watch out for
predators. Food is also scarce in the interior part of the park
because of past logging activities that have removed most of the
trees there. Thus, good habitat is now restricted to the
river-side strip where logging activities were not allowed in
From 2007 onwards, we extended our surveys to
the coastal habitat around the Maludam peninsula outside the
Park. We set up transects in the forests along Batang Lupar and
Batang Saribas rivers to determine the use of these habitats by
the red banded langur. We found that the forest along Batang
Lupar yielded a high number of observations of red banded
langur, and the park should be extended to include these sites.
But none were detected in the forest along Batang Saribas,
possibly due to disturbance from logging. Human disturbance such
as logging have direct adverse impacts on red banded langur,
underlining the importance of protecting the portion of the
Maludam peninsula where they are still found.
Financial support for this project is provided by Disney
Wildlife Conservation Fund and the Dutch-Malaysia Maludam
Project. The later surveys along Batang Lupar and Batang Saribas
were funded by the Margot Marsh Foundation. Logistic support is provided by the Sarawak
Forestry Corporation S/B.
For further enquiries, please contact Jason Hon