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 the past.

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 at .

homePhotos Jason Hon
Page updated 5 June 08 by Mike Meredith