Below are listed some of the major threats Tomistoma is facing in the wild.
The Merang River and Berbak National Park,
Internationally important nesting habitat for Tomistoma
Little was known about the biology and ecology of the False Gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii) until surveys were undertaken under the auspices of Wildlife Management International (WMI) in 1995 and 1996. These surveys identified nesting areas in the upstream reaches of the Merang River, in Sumatra, Indonesia. In 1997, a survey was carried out by WMI staff in remnant peat swamp habitat at Tasek Bera, in Peninsular Malaysia – no False Gharials were sighted. The species is known to be extinct in Thailand.
In 2001, WMI researchers returned to Sumatra, to re-assess the status of the False Gharial population, and to quantify the effects of forest fires that had occurred in 1999. Since the 1995/96 surveys, illegal logging had expanded into False Gharial habitat, and no nesting was recorded that year. These findings prompted surveys in 2002, which were followed by a workshop to develop a management plan for the area.
Participants to the workshop included researchers, non-government organisations, local and Provincial Government and local people. The situation in the Merang River area is complex, and management will involve immediate, short-term and long-term actions. Funding is urgently required to continue this vital work, to conserve the species and its habitat.
The images displayed above illustrate some aspects of conservation threats.