Very little was known about the biodiversity of Wehea Forest before 2011. Previous efforts focused mainly on individual species and no comprehensive study had been undertaken. During the summer of 2011, Icon led a team of scientists on a biodiversity study of the Wehea Forest. This study focused on mammalian biodiversity and documented over 50 mammal species including the Sunda clouded leopard, Bornean orangutan and Malay sun bear. We also began documenting the reptiles, amphibians and birds found in the Wehea Forest. Data was collected using various techniques including line transect surveys, small mammal trapping, mist netting and camera trapping. An 18 km research transect was also established into middle sections of Wehea Forest, opening up future research on the biodiversity found in the montane forests of Western Wehea.
1. To survey and visually document fauna in the Wehea Forest in Borneo, resulting in critical biodiversity data needed by local community leaders to achieve legal protection status for Wehea Forest
2. To train the rangers of Wehea in scientific methodology for continued biodiversity monitoring in Wehea
3. To spread awareness through digital media about the efforts of the Wehea Dayak to protect their forest
4. To develop a biodiversity database which allows for ongoing and sustained monitoring of biodiversity in Wehea
Icon's focus in 2012 is to continue monitoring the biodiversity in Wehea Forest and to assess changes as active logging begins along the border of Wehea in 2012. A biodiversity data base will be developed to organize the data collected and to help with ongoing monitoring in Wehea. A research station will be constructed at km 18 along the middle transect, providing access to the middle sections of Wehea. Research programs on the orangutan, clouded leopard and sun bear will be scaled up and more camera traps will be deployed. Biodiversity monitoring will also be coupled with ethnobiological research on the Wehea Dayak stories and legends of various species. This effort will help pass on the rich and varied stories the Wehea Dayak elders have about the plants and animals in Wehea.
Brent Loken- Brent Loken is collaborating on the biodiversity research in Wehea. He is Executive Director of Integrated Conservation, Perre Elliott Trudeau Scholar, Vanier Scholar and currently a P.h.D student at Simon Fraser University. Brent has been involved in work with Wehea since 2009.
Nunuk Kasyanto - Nunuk is the Research and Education Coordinator for Integrated Conservation and will help organize this study. He has extensive knowledge of the forest, the biodiversity found in Wehea and experience working with the Wehea rangers. He has been documenting the biodiversity in Wehea since 2007. His passion and dedication to Wehea is an inspiration.
Dr. Stanislav Lhota - Dr. Lhota, a primatologist, has been living and working in East Kalimantan since 2006. He is leading conservation efforts in the Bay of Balikpapan in East Kalimantan. He was the Principal Investigator on Icon’s 2011 biodiversity study in Wehea and will be involved in continued research on primates and biodiversity monitoring in Wehea.
Yatim and Soni are Wehea Dayak rangers and have been working in Wehea for a number of years. Yatim and Soni are collaborating on the camera trapping study in Wehea and are currently in charge of monitoring and interpreting results from a network of camera traps in Wehea.