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New Team Member

Boyd in the fieldThe Malay Tapir Conservation project has grown to include Australian Boyd Simpson. Boyd is an accomplished conservation biologist with more than 15 years of experience. He has worked extensively with crocodile and marine turtle conservation in his home country as well as most of South East Asia. His latest assignment, before joining the Malay Tapir Conservation Project in October 2008, was with British NGO Fauna & Flora International in Cambodia where he managed their Siamese crocodile project before assuming the role as FFI’s country director to Cambodia. Boyd brings along his wife Rim and daughter Hannah. Boyd has enrolled on Malaysia’s National University for his MSc and perhaps PhD work and will primarily be responsible for our research activities in Taman Negara National Park. The team is happy to welcome Boyd and his family to Malaysia.


Testing new camera traps

The team has purchased three new Moultrie IR-40 camera traps. Since we are looking at replacing all existing film cameratraps with new digital units we decided to test the Moultrie model because the specifications appeared favourable in relation to the price of it. The units are capable of taking both still photos as well as IR-video clips. The unit comes with 40 IR lights but without the standard xenon flash light as normal cameras make use of. The advantage of this is that it can photograph wildlife without spooking these when the flashlight is triggered but the disadvantage is that IR shots only appear in black/white.

The manufacturer states that the camera can record video clips up to 30seconds. Whilst this is true for daytime (colour) video clips the camera automatically switches over to a default 5sec video mode under low light conditions, for example, at night. Although 5sec is better than nothing it is insufficient for capturing video clips of behaviour of wildlife. The cameras have recorded many hundreds of good quality pictures and video clips without drawing a huge amount of Amp-hours. Therefore, the cameras can easily operated up to 3 months on a set of batteries. The main weakness of the cameras is that they do not withstand the intense humidity of the Malaysian rainforest very well and the LED-display went off after only one month of operation. The team has discussed the possibility of purchasing additional Moultrie units, but we feel that, given the circumstances described above, it is not suitable for long-term rigorous operation in tropical Malaysia.


Using GSM/GPS transmitter

During the past year the team has made use of a new generation of radio transmitters. They are manufactured by Swedish Televilt, which was taken over by British “FollowIt” in 2009. The transmitters work by downloading waypoints to an internal GPS in the transmitter along with many other abiotic data. These are stored on the transmitter and can be retrieved in four different ways

  1. Find the transmitter and download via USB-cable
  2. Remote VHF-download when the transmitter is still attached to the animal
  3. Send data to email by GMS, which requires the transmitter to be within GSM signal range
  4. Send data to email by satellite phone.


Update will follow soon.


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