Rafflesia tuan-mudae is a vulnerable plant according to IUCN criteria (1997). In Sarawak, all Rafflesia species are totally protected plants under the provision of the Wild Life Protection Ordinance, 1998. In addition, under the Ordinance, any person who collects, cuts, removes, offer for sale, import, export or in possession of any Rafflesia species upon conviction, shall be subject to imprisonment of 2 years and a fine of RM 25, 000.00 (USD 5, 813.95)
The National Park management had divided the areas with R. tuan-mudae into block A, block B and block C. The block A and B are areas open to visitor whereas block C is a non-visitor area. In total, there are 35 vines of Tetrastigma species as the host plant spreading across block A, block B and block C.
The flower bud’s maturation period 8-9 months and between those periods the bud will be exposed to several factors which may disturb the bud’s development such as small mammals and microbes. From the SFC monitoring, starting 2009 until now, it showed a greater percentage of rotten bud and recently, while visiting the area, there was a rotten bud with mycelium was observed (Fig. 2a). However, there is also an active healthy bud growing next to a decay flower that had bloomed 2 weeks before the site visit.
Fully bloomed flower can be 50-80 cmin size for R. tuan-mudae and at the Gunung Gading National Park; the biggest size recorded was 87 cm. However, the flower grown along the visitor pathat block A and B had a smaller sizes of flower (<50 cm) than non-visitor area (block C) that are fully protected. Therefore, this work essentially focusing on the microbes surrounding the Rafflesia tuan-mudae habitat to control it or to reduce the mortality rate of the bud as now at 70% to less than 50%.
All information mentioned above from personal communication with Mrs Connie Geri and Mr Tommy from Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), both is working on Rafflesia tuan-mudae conservation at Gunung Gading National Park and other areas in Sarawak where the plant favour and grows.