Impacts of fruit production cycles on Malayan sun bears and bearded pigs in lowland tropical forest of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo

Te Wong Siew, Christopher Servheen, Laurentius Ambu, Norhayati Ahmad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We observed a period of famine in the lowland tropical rain forest of Sabah, Malaysia from August 1999 to September 2000. All six Malayan sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) that were captured and radio-collared were in poor physical condition, and two were later found dead. The physical condition of bearded pigs (Sus barbatus) that were captured, observed or photographed by camera traps also revealed that the pigs were in various stages of emaciation and starvation. We surmise that the famine resulted from prolonged scarcity of fruit during an intermast interval in the study area. These phenomena of emaciated animals and fruit scarcity have also been reported from other areas of Borneo. Lowland tropical rain-forest trees of Borneo display supra-annual synchronized general fruiting. We believe that the starvation we observed and the generally low density of large animals in Borneo forests is a consequence of a history of prolonged food scarcity during non-general-fruiting years, but may be accentuated by anthropogenic factors such as forest fragmentation, selective logging, and reduced density of fig trees in logged forests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-639
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Tropical Ecology
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005

Fingerprint

fruit production
lowland forests
Borneo
fruit growing
pig
tropical forests
tropical forest
famine
fruiting
starvation
swine
tropical rain forests
fruit
forest trees
selective logging
lowlands
animal
Sus
foodways
emaciation

Keywords

  • Emaciation
  • ENSO
  • Famine
  • General fruiting
  • Helarctos malayanus
  • Intermast interval
  • Physical condition
  • Rain forests
  • Starvation
  • Sus barbatus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

Impacts of fruit production cycles on Malayan sun bears and bearded pigs in lowland tropical forest of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. / Siew, Te Wong; Servheen, Christopher; Ambu, Laurentius; Ahmad, Norhayati.

In: Journal of Tropical Ecology, Vol. 21, No. 6, 11.2005, p. 627-639.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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