Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in several protected areas, including Taman Negara and Krau Wildlife Reserve (Malaysia). The European captive population is not thought to be currently viable in the long term due to diminishing genetic diversity (A. Hennache in litt. 2004).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Advocate full protection under Indonesian and Malaysian law. Conduct further research into its ecological requirements, including its relationship with L. ignita. Conduct extensive field surveys to establish its distribution and population status in Sumatra. Following surveys, review whether key populations are adequately represented within the existing protected areas network, and advocate protection of further areas if necessary. Assist forest managers in habitat identification and zoning of concession areas. Promote the concept of Forest Management Units in Sabah. Develop support mechanisms for key IBAs in Peninsular Malaysia. Promote the careful management of captive stocks including the establishment of a studbook to re-establish a viable captive-breeding programme (Collar and Butchart 2013, R. Wirth in litt. 2022). Continue to closely monitor forest loss using remote sensing data.
Lophura erythrophthalma occurs in Peninsular Malaysia, and Sumatra, Indonesia (del Hoyo et al. 1994, Johnsgard 1999). There are just a handful of records from Sumatra, chiefly from Riau and Jambi provinces (van Marle and Voous 1988, eBird 2021). However, it is not a widespread species and appears to be localised, suggesting the total population is moderately small, although it is probably under-recorded owing to its occurrence in less accessible peat forest and karst forest.
In 2000, the population was suspected to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 mature individuals, however the species is suspected to have undergone a catastrophic decline since this time due to habitat loss and hunting (the latter unquantifiable), such that although the population size is now thought to be potentially much lower; there is no robust estimate that can be made. Historically, the species occurred (locally) at reasonably high density (6 birds/km2 [Johnsgard 1999]) but it is unclear whether current pressures of hunting and fragmentation allow such densities to persist anywhere, and a recent camera trapping exercise in Peninsular Malaysia lasting three months (August-October 2019) in habitat that is ostensibly ideal for the species recorded it only four times across 12 locations (totalling an equivalent of 542 days of survey effort) (Hamirul et al. 2021). Establishing a robust population estimate for this species should be considered a priority, as well as determining which forest patches it unequivocally still occurs in.
The overriding threats are habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation as a result of large-scale clearance for plantations of oil-palm and to a lesser extent rubber and timber. The conversion of habitat is typically preceded by commercial logging, which targets all remaining stands of valuable timber, even within protected areas. The rate of plains-level forest loss in the Thai-Malay Peninsula has been extremely rapid and is compounded by the associated impacts of fragmentation that increases extinction debt risks and increases access for hunting (Savini et al. 2021). This has occurred even within protected areas (J. Eaton in litt. 2022).
IUCN Red List Account Link
Malay Crestless Fireback (Lophura erythrophthalma)@Simon Brusland