Why Peninsular Malaysia?
From montane rainforests to the largest area of pristine lowland dipterocarp forest left in Malaysia, Peninsular Malaysia is home to a rich flora and fauna. The small mammal assemblage of this region is very similar to Sumatra in terms of species richness and the different families that occur here, and the numbers of species within them. It is dominated by murid rodents (27 species) and squirrels (27 species). Of these, nine species are globally threatened, including examples such as Greater Marmoset Rat, Rajah Sundaic Maxomys, Cameron Highlands Niviventer, Whiskered Flying Squirrel, Vordermann's Flying Squirrel and Smoky Flying Squirrel. This is the only SMSG Key Region in which moles (Talpidae) occur with two species, Kloss's Mole and Himalayan Mole. There are no AZE trigger small mammal species within this Key Region.
These small mammals are threatened by logging, conversion for agriculture, road construction and urban development, which are the primary drivers of loss and degradation of their forest habitats in this area.
Peninsular Malaysia contains five Data Deficient species. Most of the small mammal species described in this Key Region are known well enough to assess their extinction risk. However, our knowledge levels beyond extinction risk are very limited for most species.
Some protection is provided by one of the largest protected areas in Southeast Asia, the Taman Negara National Park.
Assessment of the five Data Deficient species and development of a regional small mammal conservation action plan should be prioritised for Peninsular Malaysia.
The Malaysian Peninsular is one of the SMSG Key Regions in which we plan to fill international knowledge gaps and develop a regional initiative to support and coordinate in-country research and conservation efforts to protect this unique assemblage of small mammals.
At present, the SMSG is working to organise knowledge-gathering and collaborative workshops in our three highest priority Key Regions, through which we seek to forge links and recruit local members to spearhead our efforts to galvanise research and conservation focussed on each region’s small mammal species. Our work in these regions will be used to perfect our methodology for achieving similar goals in all our Key Regions. Eventually, we hope to nurture collaborative networks of local and international conservation professionals in every Key Region, which are committed to the study and protection of each region’s small mammal diversity.
While the SMSG is not currently active in Peninsular Malaysia, we plan to turn our attention to this important region as soon as possible. We will continue to monitor the state of this region’s small mammals through the international scientific literature and IUCN Red List.
If you are a professional small mammal ecologist, taxonomist or conservationist working in Peninsular Malaysia, please do Contact Us to discuss your work and how the SMSG might help.