Lead Researcher, Ph.D. Candidate, Durrell Institute of Conservation & Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, UK
Research: Sun bears in human-dominated landscapes: Distribution, population trends, and conflicts in Kerinci Seblat National Park
Species/Topic: Sun bear
Abstract: Indonesia boasts the second largest tropical forest area in the world and is classified as a global biodiversity hotspot, home to some of the world's most endangered tropical mammal species. These species are threatened by deforestation, modification and fragmentation, and human-wildlife conflicts. One species of large mammal that is affected by these threats is the Malayan sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), of which little is known of their conservation status, behaviour, ecology, their responses to human habitat modification and the extent of conflicts with humans. Consequently, the IUCN/SSC Bear Specialist Group has prioritized research on sun bears as critical for bear conservation. Kerinci Seblat National Park (KSNP), Sumatra, is one of the last remaining strongholds for the endangered Malayan sun bear, but ongoing habitat loss, and increasing conflicts with people, suggests a bleak future for this forest dependant species. Few studies of conservation value have been conducted on this species. Thus, this research aims to serve as an essential monitoring tool for future conservation assessment of the species, by investigating population trends and distribution of sun bears, patterns of human-sun bear conflict, and how bears adapt to commercial landscapes.