Evidence, at least when supported by a vocal public voice, can influence policy and politics, writes David Macdonald
Efforts to ban logging at Ulu Muda forest reserve, one of our clouded leopard study sites (in Malaysia) have been successful and WildCRU’s research played a significant role in this achievement.
Last year, WildCRU led the creation of the “Saving Ulu Muda” video to inform the wider public of the importance of Ulu Muda as a water catchment reserve and as home to many forest species. The video, also published in Malay, was broadcast on national television and helped secure the 102K signatures to a petition calling for the protection of the Ulu Muda forest. Just one month after this petition was sent to the Federal Government, logging permits were revoked.
Led by Dr. Cedric Tan, our past research on clouded leopards at Ulu Muda from 2014-2016, provided essential information on the species diversity there. Our findings were included in the “Saving Ulu Muda” video, in formal letters sent by WildCRU and the Malaysian Wildlife Department to the Kedah state government and finally in the petition. Further, our research on the two largest carnivores in Ulu Muda, leopard and clouded leopard were published and disseminated via another video, accentuating the importance of Ulu Muda as a wildlife refuge and creating awareness of the threats to these animals in Malaysia.
“I am extremely pleased with how our research has helped saved a pristine forest from logging threats. I recalled seeing many logged areas whilst doing the fieldwork, and it can be quite a devastating sight, especially when it is destroying the homes of large forest cats and many other important animals” said Cedric.
The video was produced by Amy Hong, a close associate of WildCRU on many projects involving wider communication. Amy commented, “I’m so proud to be part of the team that created such extraordinary impact from powerful research. Ulu Muda is vital for securing water resource for the locals, being able to save Ulu Muda from logging would mean so much to both the locals and the researchers that are passionate about conservation.”