Banggi Recce Results

Banggi Island contains areas of protected forest with species such as long tailed macaques and mouse deer being detected on our single camera trap each night of the recce, even when the camera was placed in forest within 1km of human habitation. Such animals are prey species for larger carnivores, and though none were detected on our whistle-stop visit, lack of evidence does not mean absence. It could be quite interesting to do a further, larger-scale study of mammal fauna in a less-fragmented area of forest elsewhere on the island.

On Banggi island it is easy to find evidence of long tailed macaques, though no short-tailed macaques were observed.

Banggi island seems to have a strong population of long tailed macaques, though no short-tailed macaques were observed.

Another small investigation was done to measure the awareness of local children regarding mammals of Sabah. 3 local Malay-speaking children were shown a slideshow of images on a smartphone and were asked in Malay–working as a team– to identify the animals. They were able to correctly identify an orangutan and a red leaf monkey as a monkey, though they considered a lar gibbon to be a monkey. They identified a flat headed cat and leopard cat as a cat though they thought the clouded leopard to be a tiger and a sun bear to be a dog. They had no suggestion when shown an image of a binturong.
Is this typical of all Sabahan children today or does ethnicity & culture play a part? It would be of interest to try this again elsewhere in Sabah with a group of indigenous children and compare the results.

Putting the “Arghhh!” into Marathon

 

13 is my lucky number, the title of the latest Black Sabbath album and also the number of days I have just realised I have until I am running the Borneo International Marathon. Doh! I’ve spent the last couple of months shivering through a Russian winter rather than training, so this is going to be very interesting (i.e. painful, traunamtic… you get the idea), lol.

Donations can be either made by putting cold cash into my paws or by clicking here.

Happy Landings

IMG_112813,500ft is a long way to fall from, especially if you are not keen on heights.

After being plagued by high winds and other problems for a couple of months, I was finally able to do my first solo skydive last Friday, all in the name of conservation. My exit from the Cessna was rather “flamboyant” with the world going blue-green-blue-green-blue-green on me until I settled into a stable arch. I then did the required drills to pass the AFF1 skydiving exam before deploying my chute at 5,000ft. It was with some relief that I saw that beautiful big canopy fully-deployed above me.  By the time I was testing the controls I was surrounded by cloud, quite a strange feeling. Flying the parachute to the landing zone was great fun and I managed to get the final flare of the chute right, landing as softly as stepping off a kerb. Happy days. Flying in a plane will never be the same. Many thanks to all who have sponsored me and the excellent instructors of the British Parachute Association.

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Back on terra firma and absolutely wired on adrenaline.

Donations from this event will go towards funding the SBT’s participation in an expedition to Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo with HeartofBorneo.org. You can donate directly to the HoB expedition by clicking here.

 

Good Signs

Paul of the SBT was out to Sabah in September assisting the Oxford Brookes Wildlife Conservation Unit’s Bornean Clouded Leopard Programme again, which is currently camera trapping at the Tawau Hills Nation Park. The work in the Tawau site is set to continue until spring 2014 and is yeilding some very interesting data.

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Lunchtime for(L to R) Paul, Injam, Clarence & Styve.

The object of the study is to investigate the population desity of the Bornean clouded leopard on the island of Borneo, which is now recognised as a separate species to the clouded leopard found on the Asian mainland. Other felids have been caught on camera, such as the marbled cat, leopard cat and bay cat, of which Archive.org states that “Fewer than 25… have ever been recorded, making it one of the rarest and least-studied cats in the world”. Not a bad result.

As for the bears, males, females and cubs have all been recorded. The Oxford cameras have some great images, which will be put online shortly. The photo below shows fresh claw marks left found on a trail on the way to a camera trap.

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The fireman’s pole is not a human invention.

 

This site provides us with a great opportunity to compare the activity patterns of the bears there with not only bears elswhere in Borneo, but also sympatric carnivores which have yet to be studied there, such as the binturong (Arctictis binturong), also called bear cat., whoch like the sun bear, is highly arborial and has a similar diet. There’s so much yet to learn about these amazing animals, and the more we know the better they can be protected.

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Sometimes quite ursine in appearance, no wonder this civet is also called a bear cat.