Tiger Trails in Taman Negara Conservation Programme ~Pahang Malaysia


Are you interested in Rainforest or Wildlife Conservation? Love Tigers, Elephants, Sun bears, Tapirs and more? Want to learn how to live with semi nomadic rainforest people who call these forests their home?

If yes to any of the above, then this project is for you.

You can join us for any number of weeks or just a few days,to play your part in preserving the animals of the worlds oldest rainforest. You will go on responsible treks looking for snares and signs of human presence and poaching in the rainforest. The information gathered will be given to the relevant authorities to act. The trekking part of the programme is in support of MYCAT.

You will join Save The Caves Of Merapoh (SCM) for a weekly caving expedition. This group of locals from Merapoh have stood up to the powers that be and saved a few caves from being bulldozed. But the threat to turn these amazing limestone outcrops into lime for cement is constant. By showing the world how many people care for these amazing caves and the endemic species that live in them, we have a chance to preserve them.

On this adventure you will also meet the amazing Batek, a tribe from Taman Negara that live a foraging lifestyle.You will join the Batek ladies in looking for leaves for weaving,fishing and even stalking rats. This experience is truly community-based tourism at its best. You will also spend a night camping in the jungle, another chance to absorb natures wonders with its guardians,the Batek.

Our project is focused on poacher surveillance patrols where you will help our team to decipher clues of human encroachments in the forest reserves to deter/reduce poaching. You won’t only analyze human movements but also elephants, tigers, sun bears, tapir, gibbons and more. You will help to collect pug marks, scratch marks and other signs of our fury friends in the forest.

WHY?

Rainforest Conservation

The Sungei Yu Forest Reserve forms part of a tiger corridor which connects Taman Negara and the main mountain range – Titiwangsa Mountain Range. Poaching was high in the area but thanks to patrols from MYCAT and Fuze Ecoteer the amount of poaching has seemingly decreased with less snares and traps being found since 2014. However, we still need to patrol the area as significant poaching still does exist in the corridor. During the treks you will also help our team to collect presence data (pug marks, scratching etc.), which are then analysed by University Science Malaysia and given to various NGO’s and researchers. For example, our presence elephant data is going to the NGO ‘MEME’ Management and Ecology of Malaysian Elephants and the Malayan Tiger and Sambar Deer to MYCAT.

Indigenous Nomadic people

The project also allows you a unique chance to go trekking, foraging and camping with the Batek people. The Batek people we work with are still very connected to the rainforest and during hot spells can live in the forest for months without outside help. It is an honour to be in the rainforest with some of the few people who can still live in the rainforests, you can’t do that in many places. This is a unique chance to learn authentic bush and survival skills like cooking in bamboo and sleeping under a traditional natural shelter from the pros. The ‘developed’ world is catching up on the Batek as their forests are being cleared for plantations. So our project is enabling them to gain an income whilst living in the forest, something they care greatly for: it is their home.

Caving

Lastly, Merapoh is famous for wild limestone karsts, probably some of the best in Peninsular Malaysia. You will join a local cave excursion team to explore these many caves that still have species yet to be documented and named by science. However, this isn’t just fun. Many of the caves are earmarked to be cut down and quarried for their lime. An increased tourism presence at the caves is showing the government and local people what potential these caves have for tourism and most importantly promoting a reason for their preservation.

If you want to experience lush rainforest, learn about it, explore it and help preserve its animals, plants and people, then this adventure conservation experience is for you!Highlights

Trek Wild Animals : decipher wild animal tracks of large cats such as tigers, leopards as well as elephants, tapirs, and sun bears

Reduce poaching : poaching is high in the area. Help deactivate snares before they catch wild animals

Wild rainforest : though close to road access, this area is a true wild rainforest region

Local tribe visit : go foraging with the local Batek Tribe women. Their amazing dexterity and ease in the jungle keeps you on your toes as you fumble through the unfamiliarity of their home. Spend the night with the Batek Tribe, a nomadic tribe still found roaming within the confines of the ever shrinking Malaysian rainforests.

Caving : Spend half day esploring limestone cave systems in the area in search of cave paintings

Tiger Trails in Taman Negara Conservation Programme Fee

International volunteers

1 week MYR 2,000 Approx GBP 370 USD 500

2 weeks MYR 3,500 Approx GBP 660 USD 890

3 weeks MYR 5,500 Approx GBP 990 USD 1,400

4 weeks MYR 7,000 Approx GBP 1,300 USD 1,780

*MYR Malaysian Ringgit / GBP Great Britain Pounds

** Price includes 6% GST Government Tax

Malaysian volunteers

1 week MYR 1,300

2 weeks MYR 2,275

3 weeks MYR 3,575

4 weeks MYR 4,550

Includes: food, dorm accommodation with shared bathroom, lunches are provided and cooking facilities, all volunteering community.

Excludes: Travel to and from Merapoh , Insurance, Flight fares

For more information, call Dan Quilter at

Dan: +601-221-73208

Adventure@fuze-ecoteer.com

Booking

Please allow a minimum of 4 weeks for us to process your application and payment.

Please make an initial inquiry by telling us about yourself and what project you would like to join. Contact us here

To make a booking, please contact us here. We will then email you back with more information and the application form. Please complete the form and send it back to us so we can confirm your reservation and inform you how to make the deposit payment. If the deposit is not received within 2 weeks from the date your reservation is placed, your reservation will be cancelled automatically. Full payment is required no later than 1 month before departure. You may pay online by credit card or a direct transfer to our account. Once a deposit has been paid we will email you our Know Before You Go guide, which will give you useful information to help you prepare to volunteer.

Cancellation Policy

a. Cancellation of reservation must be made in writing to avoid any misunderstanding. If the company receives notice to cancel 30 days or more before the date of departure, a minimum administrative fee of RM100.00 or 10% of the tour deposit (whichever is lower) per person will be levied.

b. If notice of the cancellation is received 29 days or less before the date of departure the following charges will apply:

c. 15 – 29 working days before the date of departure = 50% of deposit

8 – 14 working days before the date of departure = 20% of FULL COST

3 – 7 working days before the date of departure = 40% of FULL COST

2 working days or less before the date of departure = 100% of FULL COST

Testimonials

“I’ve enjoyed every second of the last week and all the people I have met and been with, it has been like being part of a family. As well as enjoying it, I feel like I have learn so much about the forest, the local community and Malaysia in general.

Sri is so enthusiastic about what he is doing you can’t help but get caught up in it with him. The fact that you feel like you can see where your money has gone and that Ecoteer cares about having a positive impact on the local community and everyone who is involved in the project is another really important part for me. I feel like I have got so much out of doing this and would not hesitate for a second to recommend it to others.”

Kate & Bethan

“I started the programme at the Yellow house in KL.This is a quaint volunteer hub with a rustic charm,it provides with the basic creature comfort with a token cost.I was greeted by Daniel,who will be leading the programme. I get to meet fellow volunteers from Europe, Australia and US, off to another volunteer programme in Ipoh.Glad were we to be hosted by the hospitable neighbour who hosted an authentic Indian dinner,wonderful curry, thosai,rice etc.

Next day we took a bus and public transport to meet our guide Mr. Ashley,and he brought along his daughter Eleanor.Together we head off to Merapoh for the programme proper.

The guest house in Merapoh have nice comfy bed,kitchen and outdoor shower rooms.Next two days we went for a recce at the fringe of Taman Negara National Park,charting new future patrol route. We have many interesting sighting along the way : animal tracks,droppings ,creepy crawlies etc.We also done some camera trapping work,and I was elated to see the pictures of the many megafauna denizens in the park:tigers,sun bears,panthers,elephants,tapirs,dholes,wild boars,porcupines etc.Seeing them on picture is all that worth my while,as it is extremely difficult to see the animals in the park due to their shy and elusive nature.But we do see red Muntjac on the trail,albeit only a fleeting second.

Daniel and I spent one night in one observation hide,staking out a salt lick.No animals were spotted,but the experience was wonderful.There are fireflies in the forest,and the cacophonies of the night illustrates the vibrancy and diversity of life in the rain forest.

Another day was spent camping in the elephant cave,known as Gua Gajah. Evidence of elephant presence was everywhere.It is truly a unique first time experience for me,camping out in a limestone cave.It was breezy and cooling,we set up a bonfire,and were quickly lulled to sleep in the unique ambiance.

I have a half day adventure in one of the limestone cave, gua Hari Malaysia.The guides from SGI outdoor are experience and helpful people,and we had a good time exploring up to 400 m into the cave.At certain stretch,we have to swim across pools with the ceiling a few centimeter from our head,while we have to rappel up mini falls twice during the exploration.Bats were abound in the cave,and I saw whip scorpion and some spiders in the cave too!

I have spent day with the indigenous people of Malaysia,the orang asli.They are the original denizens in the Taman Negara forest,and have learned all the necessary survival skills to live in the rain forest.I was amazed at the speed they travel through the forest at ease,traversing the water-logged and muddy ground.The ladies are good fishers too,being capable of reeling in good catches in no time,using nothing more than a bamboo rod and earthworm bait.

This is definitely a lifetime experience for me.Trekking in Malaysian forest may not be new to me,but to experience the life in the forest doing my part in forest conservation is something I have always wanted to do. Never mind about the rain,who put off some of the planned activities,and leeches,boggy ground,bugs and creepy crawlies,they are an essential component of nature ,like you and I.Go with an open mind,and you will reap in an experience of a lifetime.Thanks to Ecoteer for the great experience.”

Kwa Kee Lang, August 2013

“I spent a week in July 2013 on the tiger trail volunteer experience, and let’s just say it wasn’t one to forget.

To start off with, I’d never done anything like this before and didn’t really know what I’d got myself in to. I’m 19 so was one of the youngest in the group.

My friend and I spent our first few nights in KL, and then met the rest of the group at a bus station to head off on our journey to Merapoh. This took about 5/6 hours, the buses were comfy so it wasn’t so bad.

We arrived in Merapoh with all our bags and got picked up by the owners of the chalet. They took us back and we were given a quick tour. It was extremely basic, which at first I thought I was going to absolutely hate. As soon as I got over this, it turned out to be absolutely fine and just what we needed. I was made to feel at home, everyone was so nice and the accommodation did exactly what it needed too.

The rooms were single sex, we had 2 girls rooms and one for boys. There were 2 bunk beds in each, again very basic. This is all that was needed, we were living out our backpacks and by the end of all that trekking it was like heaven getting in to bed!

There was a lounge and kitchen area as well where we all could sit in after the treks and chill out for a few hours. We all felt very safe staying there and by the end of the week we didn’t want to leave!

We had some lunch and a run through of the week, it was all quite overwhelming at the start because it sounded like a lot to cram in.

We had about 7 volunteers altogether, at the start it was a bit awkward and everyone was quiet but by the end of the week we were such good friends and we were all just having a laugh together. Helping each other out and working together on the treks created a bond almost straight away and I met some of the most amazing people.

Let’s move on to the actual trekking itself.

We started in the mornings at about 8, and drove to different corridors of the Taman Negara. The treks would include going down poacher trails and looking for any animal evidence (prints etc.). This lasted about 7 hours for 4 of the days of the week, and is definitely not for anyone with a poor fitness level. We had regular breaks and stopped off for lunch. If anyone was finding it difficult the team were there to support them and the guides were excellent in making sure everyone was alright. I didn’t know what to expect and the first trek really brought home to me what the week was going to be like. The terrain was tough and it included things such as walking over logs that had fallen between two banks over a river.

Just a word of warning: Proper walking shoes and at least 2 pairs of trousers are required! I only bought one pair of trousers which were wrecked in the first day, I then had to go out and buy another pair! Another member of the group also bought trainers to wear, and after a few hours the soles had completely fallen off. A good backpack would also be handy. Be prepared for clothes to be ruined! Also, getting leeched is inevitable. It doesn’t hurt, and although pretty gross you have to just flick them off or leave them.

Don’t let the long days or tough terrain put you off though, the experience wasn’t one to be missed and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was completely different to anything I’d done before and didn’t really know what to expect, but it was so much fun.

We spent one night sleeping in the jungle, which was an experience I will never forget. Some of the members of the Batek tribe came and cooked us chicken and rice in bamboo, which was absolutely incredible. We arrived at camp and they had already made themselves a shelter out of leaves and sticks. I felt like I was cheating putting up our tents and hammocks! The nights sleep wasn’t one of the best but staying right near a river surrounded by wildlife was an incredible experience and will never be forgotten.

Another day was spent caving. This really helped to break up the week of trekking as it wasn’t so physically demanding. It was run by the owners of the chalet. We arrived at the site of the cave and were immediately thrown in to the deep end as we had to rock climb up a verge with only a rope behind us. This was completely safe and the leaders of the caving helped us to get up. We then started walking through the cave, which was amazing. We saw all sorts of wildlife, including snakes and scorpions. The caving included crossing through a river, about waist height. If you weren’t confident in water the guides were happy to put a rope through to help. We were in the caves for about an hour and a half, until we got to the end. It soon dawned on us we were going to have to abseil down a 30m cliff if we wanted to get back. This was scary, however we all managed to do it and all felt as though we’d accomplished something after (if not a little shaky…)!

We spent another day going to visit the local Batek tribe. This included another trek, where we went with the women to collect leaves in order to weave baskets. It was amazing watching them work, they were about 70+ and much fitter than us! We then went back to their village and taught them an English lesson in their school. They knew very basic English, but responded to the lesson very well and it was such a rewarding experience.

The food throughout the week could not be faulted. It was mainly Malay style curries. We were given a packed lunch every day, which was rice with a sauce and meat/fish. It was quite mild but so tasty. In the evenings we would go to a local restaurant and eat something of our choice off the menu. Every night I ate well and their portions were definitely generous! Couldn’t say a bad word about it.

Some evenings we spent down at a lake, which was really refreshing and fun. (Note: don’t bomb off the log, it hurts.) We also went out for a Chinese and some beers one night to celebrate, which was amazing.

Dan, the owner of Ecoteer and a leader on the treks was so kind and helped us through the whole week. We wouldn’t have done it without him. The trek guides were also brilliant and we had good fun with them. Everyone looked out for each other and we formed a sort of family.

Overall, although daunting at the start the whole experience was incredible. I overcame things I didn’t think I would be able to do and a massive thank you to everyone that made it happen. I never expected to meet such great people, we got on so well and by the end of the week we all clicked. It was almost a shame it was over in such a short space of time!”

Harriet, August 2013

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