The Zoo’s South East Asia Programme continues to provide technical and financial support to conservation in the region with special focus on activities in Malaysia and Indonesia. Whereas the Malaysia programme continues to focus on research and conservation of the Malayan tapir, the Indonesian programme reached the conclusion of five years of collaboration with United Plantations Bhd, as well as an upscaling of activities in Baluran National Park East Java.


The Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) continues to be the main collaborating institution in West Malaysia. At the end of 2015, a milestone was reached when DWNP and Copenhagen Zoo agreed to the wording of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for future collaboration.
Work on the Malaysian Tapir Conservation Action Plan (MaTCAP) was renewed in spring, and a first draft was completed by the end of 2015.

Malayan tapir

The Zoo is conducting several Malayan tapir research and conservation projects in Malaysia. The main research components
are designed to describe and/or assess the reasons for the species’ slow and steady decline across its distribution range. Although habitat loss is considered a key-factor, it appears that the decline must also be perceived in an evolutionary context.

In 2015, Copenhagen Zoo’s team captured a total of three Malayan tapirs which were fitted with GPS-collars and released in Krau Wildlife Reserve. Another three were joint operations with DWNP and caught as ‘problem’ animals and moved to new areas, however, fitted with a GPS-collar. This forms part of the Zoo’s ongoing long-term research on the behavioural ecology of the species. The work has entered into a new area, where ‘displaced’ individuals will be released back into areas where they came from, to study the dispersal and adaptation in an increasingly fragmented landscape. As in the past, the team continues to monitor study areas with camera traps in combination with radiotelemetry field-work.

Boyd Simpson leads the Zoo’s study on Malayan tapirs’ dependency on salt- and mineral licks. Water and soil samples are analyzed for mineral contents and traceelements. Camera-traps are deployed at sample sites.

Flat-headed cat

After promising camera-trap surveys and monitoring of specific sites in Krau Wildlife Reserve where flat-headed cats were regularly captured on cameras,

the Zoo’s team made a six months trial to capture this illusive species. Unfortunately, none of the various types of bait proved successful, and the team is now re-evaluating its strategy.


A work plan for Copenhagen Zoo’s support to Baluran National Park, East Java, was agreed upon early in 2015. The main focus is on a) wildlife research and management,
b) invasive species eradication and habitat
restoration, and c) fire management. The team commenced on the first comprehensive camera trap survey in Baluran National Park, deploying 100 cameras in a predetermined grid system. This constitutes the first step in ecological research on the endangered banteng, the critically endangered Javan leopard, and the Asiatic wild dog.

Andalas University, Sumatra

The Zoo commenced on a new 3-year Malayan tapir project with Andalas University. This project is funded by the Fondation Segré and forms part of a joint tapir conservation initiative of the IUCN SSC Tapir Specialist Group. The project activities will take place at adjacent lowland areas South of Kerinci Sebelat National Park, Sumatra, as well as some of the highlands of the park, where
tapirs have been recorded in the past. The Zoo continues to collaborate with Andalas University and publish the Journal of Indonesian Natural History (JINH).

United Plantations Bhd

In October, 2015, the 5-year MoU with United Plantations Bhd (UP) came to an end. In the past years, the parties have successfully setup a functional and effective biodiversity division in UP’s estates in Indonesia. A range of milestones and ‘firsts’, specifically concerning biological pest-control, have been achieved during the past five years. Copenhagen Zoo and UP are both exploring the opportunity to extend the collaboration for another five year term.

As part of the cooperation the behavioural ecology study of leopard cats in a palm oil plantation landscape continued in 2015. Since 2014, 8 individuals have been captured and collared, and three have been recaptured and refitted with radio-collar. Some of the key-results suggest that the cat population is significantly larger than recorded elsewhere which may influence the local rat population and thereby the pest control in the plantations.