Rapid Action Fund

Organisation: Universiti Malaysia Terengganu

Project title: Urgent conservation action for the Critically Endangered Clarias sulcatus, an island endemic species in Redang Island, Peninsular Malaysia

Location: Redang Island, Terengganu, Malaysia

Project date: March 2022 – March 2023 (ongoing)

Species: Clarias sulcatus

Supported by: Fondation Segré

The challenge

Freshwater fishes are one of the most highly threatened species groups but are also often neglected in receiving conservation attention. Claris sulcatus is a hyperendemic island catfish found only in fast-flowing streams on Redang Island, off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Described only in 1999, little is known about the species but they are facing immense pressure from land development and abstraction of freshwater to support the rapidly growing tourism on the island.  

The species is historically known from only two streams on the island and is largely disconnected from other freshwater bodies. New airport construction risks destroying the last remaining known habitat for the species and conservation intervention is urgent.    

The project

The primary aim of the project is to establish emergency conservation action for C. sulcatus to secure the remaining population of the species in the wild, by focusing on assessing the population size and distribution throughout Redang Island, locating potential sites for translocation and establishing an ex situ breeding programme for eventual rewilding. The team will also engage with the local community to increase awareness of this species and support for its conservation. The project will also develop a management plan for the species, and operationalise active habitat management to prevent further habitat deterioration of this species. 

“We believe the local communities and tour operators on the island play an important role in safeguarding the species. Hence, their knowledge obtain from this activity will help them protect the species from extinction.”
-Amiruddin Ahamad, University Malaysia Terengganu

Project reports

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