Tropical Bear Research and Conservation Grant



This year the Research and Conservation Grants (R&CG) Committee had the opportunity to award a special two-year grant (USD $15,000/year) for multi-faceted research and conservation work on a tropical bear species.  This special grant was made possible by a very generous anonymous donor who has been a long-time supporter of our grants programs. The committee received 16 exemplary proposals for this special award, and this meant that the competition was fierce. It was difficult to decide between top-ranked proposals and the final decision came after hours of careful deliberation. Thanks to the applicants for all those excellent submissions.

The winner of the Tropical Bear Award for 2017 is Roshan Guharajan with his project The effects of anthropogenic activities on sun bears and other large mammals. Roshan is a PhD student under the supervision of Andreas Wilting of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Germany, and is joined by collaborator Dave Garshelis of the BSG.

Guharajan’s project summary is given below:

Borneo is considered a stronghold for the sun bear. However, destruction and degradation of forest as well as intense hunting pressure is putting the future of the species, and that of other large mammals on this island, at risk. This research project aims to understand how these human activities are in fact affecting bear and other large mammal distribution, both at the local and landscape level, within a vital part of sun bear range in Sabah, Malaysia. This will be done using systematic camera trap grids across our study area. We will also utilize the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) to patrol our study area in order to understand the extent of hunting while also maintaining a presence to deter illegal activities. Our work is done in partnership with the Sabah Forestry Department, and our results will be incorporated into their forest management planning. Our group is well suited to accomplishing this work, as we have a combined 20 years of experience working on sun bear and wildlife issues in Malaysian Borneo.

Best wishes to Roshan in his work!

Upon submission of proposals, grant applicants were given the option of including a scaled-down proposal  and budget that could be considered for a regular R&C grant.  As a result, 10 proposals that were not chosen for the Tropical Bear Grant were subsequently included in the selection process for regular R&C grants. 

We remind applicants to our grants program that the Committee is not at this time able to offer a tutorship or reviewer service for your proposals because of time demands, but we are taking a look at providing further web-based instruction to applicants who plan to apply for grants at the end of 2017.