Peat Fish Study
The Peat Fish Study at the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve in the state of Johor has begun. Two surveys have been done and a number of species have been identified including the endangered Betta Persephone.
Peat swamp forests are nature’s treasure trove. Despite their harsh living conditions, a wide variety of endemic plants and animals are to be found in these environments. Among the many fauna species found in peat swamp forests, the most vulnerable of it all is probably the peat fish. There have been very few fish surveys conducted in Malaysia which seem to stem from the lack of interest in peat swamp habitats and the fish themselves. Wetlands International Malaysia recently conducted a survey to study the diversity of peat fish in the peat swamp forest of Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve. The project aims to study the diversity of fish species found in Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve and its surrounding water bodies. Two survey trips were made – March and July – to the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve. A total of 21 species were recorded including the critically endangered Betta Persephone in the first survey. The second survey saw a lower species count of only 15 with 3 new species which were not recorded during the first trip. There is no explanation for the low species count during the second survey. A more detailed survey needs to be conducted before we are able to determine the cause.
The peat fish study is funded by Shell Malaysia