Rainforest Research & Conservation
Ever fancied getting involved in a Rainforest Wildlife Conservation programme?
This project on the borders of Taman Negara aims at reducing human impacts in the Sungai Yu Wildlife Corridor between the Taman Negara National Park and the main mountain range in West Malaysia. This is where poaching is at its densest! The wildlife corridor is the last rainforest connection between Taman Negara and the main mountain range and is currently used by wild animals as a highway between these two large patches of forest. Without the wildlife corridor connection, the populations of Tigers, Elephants, Tapir, Sun Bears and Leopards would be doomed. By jungle trekking in this area of lush tropical rainforest your presence will act as a deterrent to poachers, whilst collecting vital data on animal tracks and signs. So you will learn how to use a GPS.
As well as the jungle trekking you will visit the local limestone caves. Wet caves, dry caves, climbing, abseiling, crawling through tunnels: it’s an adventure on its own. And again by being present in these caves, you help to prevent them from being destructed!
You will also meet a local semi-nomadic tribe, the Batek, to learn about their lifestyle and play football with the kids. The inclusion of the local people is vital to the conservation of the wildlife corridors, as they are the eyes and ears of the forest. The programme tries to not only benefit the local tribe by providing education (see our sister project Batek Education Project), but also financially. During each jungle walk a local guide will lead and point out animal signs, this is their back garden and it’s an amazing experience to see how at ease they walk through the jungle.
At the end of each week the Batek ladies will take you into the jungle for a unique camping trip. Together you will build a shelter out of leaves to sleep under, learn how to make fire , cut your own bamboo tea cup and cook in bamboo. So tasty!
When you are not patrolling in the jungle, your afternoons and evenings will be filled with activities like swimming in the river of National Park Taman Negara, going on a night drive to spot wildlife like owls and civet cats, watch movies on our very own roof top and visiting night markets to experience Malaysia’s b estfood. Last but not least you will go on a traditional Malay Dinner!
If you are thinking of going to Taman Negara or any other Rainforest, you should consider this project. In this programme you will learn a lot about the rainforests and your presence will help not just the Tigers but all of the denizens of these tropical rainforests, including its people. For the wild populations of animals to breed sufficiently they need to be able to move freely between large patches of forest and without this connection corridor the two main populations of Tiger, Elephants and Leopards in West Malaysia will no longer be connected able to inter-breed.
Interested in this; ready to enquire?
Find out more by filling out the form below and clicking send. Fuze Ecoteer Outdoor Adventures should then be in touch
shortly to help with your enquiry.
More information about this gap year opportunity...
1 week MYR 2000 (approx. GBP 375)
2 weeks MYR 3500 (approx. GBP 650)
3 weeks MYR 5500 (approx. GBP 1000)
4 weeks MYR 7000 (approx. GBP 1300)
MYR Malaysian Ringgit/GBP – Great Britain Pounds
Includes: Dorm accommodation with shared bathroom, lunches are provided and cooking facilities, all volunteering activities.
Excludes: Travel to and from Merapoh, breakfast, dinner, Insurance, Flight fares, Visa
A low to medium level of fitness is required for the Jungle walks. These walks are supposed to be slow to enable the guides to search for tracks and animal signs. HOWEVER this is still a Tropical Rainforest where humidity can reach 90-100%, it may not be hot but the humidity is hard, plus leaches live in this forest. The walks are generally 5-7 hours long depending on the group and the route chosen. The areas of forest that need surveying and walking will be decided by MyCat and the experienced Ecoteer leader and local guide will then decide on a suitable route to take. These jungle walks are fascinating and will really allow you to feel like one of the animals in the forest. The leaders will also be looking out for signs of humans and poachers and if any snares are found the GPS locations will be recorded and then they will be destroyed. Even old discarded snares continue to catch animals so it is vital that they are removed from harm.
PLEASE BE WARNED
Although large animals live in these forests it is very rare to actually see any because they are mostly nocturnal. Your role is to look for signs of their whereabouts, look for snares and to act as deterrent to poachers.
There are over 60 limestone caves in the Merapoh region. The actual caves that you go into will depend on weather, group size and group ability. The caves are fantastic some even have river and waterfalls inside. The presence of the limestone formations creates the most fantastic scenery. The caves are homes to various animals including thousands of swiflets that group together at sunset and can be seen flying around a nearby town called Gua Musang. The Batek people have used these caves for centuries as can be seen by the cave drawings that can be found in many of them.
About the Orang Asli
The Local ‘Orang Asli’ group (Orang =People Asli = Original) are from the Batek tribe. They speak Batek and most of them still live part of their lifes in the rainforest. The Batek people are one of the Negrito tribes and have similarities to people from the Andaman Islands, the Philiphines, Indonesia and New Guinea. They are true nomads and are classified by some anthropologist as pygmies due to their short stature. Some of the children go to the local government school and some don’t.
The Batek harvest the fruits of the forest and have small agricultural areas where they grow fruits such as Durian, cempedak, mangoosten,, rambutan and petai, selling any excess. They also collect rattan and wild honey to use or to sell.
It is not part of the Batek character to destroy an area totally, they will move on before all the resources are depleted. The forest is their “supermarket” and therefore valued and-as the home of their ancestor-respected.
The men hunt and share the spoils while the women fish and collect forest fruits and vegetables. The Orang Asli are renowned for their hunting prowess. The Batek believe animals living above the ground are clean so they hunt those living in trees such as birds, squirrels and monkeys. Originally the Orang Asli used bows and arrows but early this century they converted to blowpipes. Today, they still use 1.5metre bamboo blowpipes and poisonous darts to hunt on daily basis. Darts are dipped in the poisonous sap of the Ipoh Tree (Antaris toxicaria).
Traps and nets are occasionally used to snare small games. Meals are supplemented with fish, tortoise, jungle fruits and yams from the forest and products like rice bought from outside. Traditionally most food was cooked in bamboo, grilled or boiled although now metal pots supplement this.
The survival of the Orang Asli in the rainforest is partly dependent upon using a series of limestone caves for shelter. In 1985 charcoal drawings were discovered in Gua Batu Luas in Taman Negara and attribute to the ancestors of the Batek people. While they only date from 1920, anthropologists have speculated that the traditions of cave painting amongst these people are much older. The motifs found in the Gua Batu Luas cave include mountain scenery that is most likely Gunung Tahan.
In the future
In the future the programme will include activities such as tree planting deforested areas and camera trapping. Tree planting is currently dependent on approval by the local government departments and camera trapping is dependent on finding suitable locations and funding.
2016: Every other Sunday from 7th Feb to end of November
2017: Every other Sunday from 8th January to end of November
This is an 8 day program. Arrival on Sunday, departure on the following Monday.