Wildlife Census in Gapau Forest

This report was prepared during environment impact assessment exercise or EIA conducted in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. Some others EIA report was included for the development of cable car on top of Mount Machincang in Langkawi back in 1990s and others as well.

I might be doing this kind of work again "Back to Nature" and in memory of the late Dr N. Manokaran the retired Director of Biodiversity Division, Forest Research Institute of Malaysia. He was pass away after this report was submitted.

Report on Census of Wildlife within Gapau Forest Reserve Negeri Sembilan  for the development of The Resevoir.

The loss of biological and genetic resources was amongst the issue arising from the development of reservoir.  The state government of Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus is constructing a dam for the development of reservoir across Sungai Teriang to meet the water needs of Seremban, Nilai and surrounding areas until 2020. The proposed dam will be constructed within a catchments area approximately 60 km² size situated around 6 km from Kuala Klawang town in Jelebu and about 28 km north of Seremban. The tributaries of Sungai Teriang originate from the Gapau Forest Reserve in which the river flows through the forest reserve. The development within the catchment is sparse with the major land use is a forest reserve.

Wildlife survey within the area is crucial in order to formulate the mitigating measures on impacts to wildlife due to the development whereby area will be submerged under the water when it is completed.  The objective of the survey is to determine the existence of some animal species in the area.  The purposed survey will be based on observation i.e. track, scats, vocalizations and visualizations.  Some trappings will be undertaken for animals, which are shy and do not give a distinctive vocalization.


The scope of works on the census is as follows,

  • To do a census of wildlife in the area.
  • To provide a definitive list of animals in the area with emphasis on the terrestrial vertebrate fauna, which include herpetofauna, birds and mammals.


Observation for small mammals and birds.

The most common census techniques used to detect the present of wildlife is through direct observation.  The presence of wildlife in the area was detected through sounds the wildlife make, visual observation and identification of their tracks and droppings.   A common (10 x 30) binocular will be used during the census. The census will be conducted on 2 main area i.e. inland area and along the riverbanks.

According to  Frederickson et.al. (2000), field sampling have to restrict to vertebrate wildlife with small home ranges where these species potentially would be responsive to any development.  Thus it is crucial if the survey on birds (especially famili: Timaliidae), mammals, and herpetofauna in which will represent the effect of dam construction in the area.

Small mammal trapping

A total of 50 small mammals traps was deployed on a 20 m interval line transect.  It was carried out over a maximum 5 full days (nights). Should there be a distinct and sizeable, second type of habitat within the area, then the trapping pattern will be repeated for the second area.  The type of traps is a modification of common rat’s trap to allow the capture of medium-sized animals such as porcupines, mongoose and civet cat.

This method will allow for photographs to be taken of the captive animals before released back into the nature.  The populations study might be established with proper tagging and calculation by using Jolly-Saber Index.

Mist Nets for Bats and Birds

A total of 5 mist nets were deployed at a maximum of 4 nights. This method is intended to capture bats for the purpose of identification.  Most nocturnal animals can survive up to early morning even leave unattended when captured in mist nets. It is due to the conducive temperature if compared to diurnal animals which exposed to direct sunlight and dehydration.  However, there is a possibility that the animal were killed due to stress and exposed to night rain.  Thus, it would be noted that the night census will be conducted where mist nets was deployed at dusk and closed at midnight.  The visit for each mist net was conducted up to 3 hours interval.

A total of 5 mist nets were deployed at early morning at a suitable place to sample understorey birds such as in a Timaliidae famili.  The birds mist netting was check at 3- 4 hours interval and bird captured will be identified, photograph and release back to its nature.

Herpetofauna Sampling

The field team is required to capture specimens on an opportunistic basis.  The specimens are released after identification and photographed for identification purposes.  Frogs species may be spotted or captured by hand at night along streams and in wetland areas.  Some frogs may be identified through distinctive calls, while monitor lizards and flying lizards are often seen.  A number of the commoner snakes can be reliably confirmed through interviewing local observers.

Interview Surveys

Casual conversations can give important information. However such information must be distinguished from information obtained from objective interview surveys that are conducted in a planned, systematic manner.  If actions are to be taken based on the results of what people say, then interview surveys must be done properly to avoid biased information.

Interview with local or orang asli found to be collecting rattan from the area was conducted.  However, they were refused to be pictograph and thus permission is given to capture some of their rattan collection.

Properly conducted interview can give data concerning wildlife.  Such date can point the right direction or help to observed changes in numbers and distribution before hands.  It will also help to collect certain data to get in other ways, such as historic information on the settlement and wildlife presence.


The field survey was carried out from 18th Jan to 23th Jan 2007 or 5 working days.  The wildlife field team was consist of 5 man.  A line transect started at camping site point was used as a census samplings.  Observation and trapping was also conducted on the line transect.  The GPS point of the line transect are as follows

GPS Points:

    Camping Site : N 02 o 57.287  E 102 o 01.215
    Padang Lalang (Name cited by orang asli): N 02o 57.203 E 102 o 01.111
    Ridge junction : N 02 o 57.349 E 102 o 00.816
    Ridge 1 : N 02 o 57.616 E 102 o 00.708
    Ridge 2 (Last point for observation) : N 09 o 24.008 E 102 o 09.625


A census of wildlife in the area shows that the area was probably a secondary forest and was logged over the past 10 to 15 years.  Thus, faunal diversity this area will be based on this report, observations by our wildlife team crews.

Based on the finds, there are a total of 7 mammals species of which the most abundant are Wildboar (Sus scrofa), and Mousedeer (Tragulus spp). On the other hand, there are report from local residents (orang asli) on their difficulties to find sambar deer (C. unicolor), barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), wild boar (Sus spp.), gibbons (Hylobates spp) and squirrels in this area.  Further, the distribution of large mammal species might have a close inverse correlation with human activities.

The report indicated that the large mammal populations were comparatively high where human populations were low, especially at the site sampling where the census was conducted.  This is due to their adaptability to changing environments; their scavenger and opportunistic feeding behavior and their mobility.  This species is also a prolific breeders like domestic pigs (Diong, 1973) .

The forest in the region contained less variety of avifauna which only 17 species of birds was either captured or observed from the area.  The most common hornbill sighted in this area was black hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros).

Sign, scratching, footprint and sighting for wildlife were recorded opportunistically by wildlife census teams when they came across these signs along the transects.  The most common mammals sighted in the region were the wild boar (Sus scrofa).  During the census the chances of meeting Chinese local hunter are high and based on the communication confirm on the abundant population of wild boars.

Throughout the census, there was never been any sighting of large mammals.  Elephants (Elephas maximus) were not sighted during the census.  People living and working within the area however reported that there is some cases of elephant sightings from the area.   Occasionally, Civet cats, Mousedeer and Primates were found in the fringes of the villages.

Impact and Mitigation

The conversion of large area of land primary of the establishment of water reservoir will have a profound effect on wildlife.  Ground survey however already showed very low presence of wildlife within the projects site.  The only species of significant found in the project site is wildboar (Sus scrofa) which was the most sighted whilst others such as Elephant and Mousedeer was only reported by locals.  However it was recommended, the area was cleared in stages to push animals population to nearby area.  Logging and clearing will be able to push animals population to dwindle in terms of diversity and number.  This may due to migration to nearby forest area to seek refugee of simply perished to starvation for being able to adapt to the habitat disturbance.


Frederickspn, T.S, Ross, B.D., Hoffman, W. Ross. E., Morrison, M.L., Beyea, J. Lester. M.B., and Johnson, B.N., 2000. The impact of logging on wildlife, a study in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Journal of Forestry 98(4):4-10.


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