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Showing posts from August, 2015

Animal of the Month

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Welcome to Animal of the Month for August 2015. Every month, we will announce our favourite animal that has been featured on the blog at some point during the month.

Which animal has been our favourite this month?

Contenders
Orang-utan
Borneo Pygmy Elephant
Bornean Gibbon
Harlequin Flying Frog
Proboscis Monkey
Mangrove Cat Snake
Reticulated Python

Winners: Orang-utan & Bornean Gibbon
August has been full of so many incredible animals from Borneo and Singapore that I have had to pick two. Almost all of the animals I have seen in this past month are new to me, so they were all very special. The Orang-utan had to be a winner, mainly due to its rarity and difficulty to see. Being only found in Borneo and Sumatra, these apes are really under threat, so seeing a wild individual was brilliant. But the Bornean Gibbon had to win as well. For the few days before we saw the group of them calling in the trees, I had said they were a species I really wanted to see. Our wonderful guide George said that th…

Sabah, Borneo: Reptiles & Amphibians

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Sabah, Borneo: Mammals

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Borneo hosts some of the most beautiful, secretive and strange mammals in the world. From the elusive cats to the dog-like civets, many a mammal hides in the dense vegetation of the Bornean rainforest. Excluding the primates, many of the mammals are very difficult to see, being either rare, nocturnal or well camouflaged. Below is our mammal list from our Sabah trip, not including primates:
Malay Civet, Small-toothed Palm Civet, Masked Palm Civet, Asian Palm Civet, Bearded Pig, Borneo Pygmy Elephant and Plain Pygmy Squirrel. Plus Clouded Leopard prints and a glimpse of a Leopard Cat.
You may notice that half of the confirmed list above are civets. And all of these civets were spotted in just one night. It was our first night in the Danum Valley, and we had a night drive booked for 8:30pm. We were in an open lorry, with a guide with a flashlight stood with us to look for eyeshine and therefore the animals. An hour or so later when we returned, we had seen a lot of nocturnal animals. The t…

Sabah, Borneo: Primates

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Borneo is home to around 3,000 species of tree, which means a wide variety of food for the island’s primate species. On our trip, we have seen almost all of the primate species on offer, including nocturnal and endemic species. Borneo must be one of the best places to see primates. Although they spend much of their time high up in the treetops, they are surprisingly easy to spot. Gaps in the trees, or the edges near rivers are good places to look, and rustling in the leaves often give away their position. Many of the primates are also quite inquisitive, and come to investigate the movement down on the forest floor. Below is the list of primate species we saw:
Pig-tailed Macaque, Long-tailed Macaque, Red Leaf Monkey, Silvered Leaf Monkey, Proboscis Monkey, Slow Loris and Bornean Gibbon.
Possibly the weirdest of the primates is the Proboscis Monkey. These monkeys are only found in Borneo, and are fascinating animals. They are known for the males’ very large nose. It is thought this has de…

Sabah, Borneo: The Orang-utan

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When you think of Borneo, one of the first things that springs to mind is the Orang-utan, or ‘man of the forest’. These endangered apes are in serious trouble due to deforestation and human disturbance, so seeing a wild orang-utan is obviously a major aim when visiting the island of Borneo.
In Sabah, there are numerous places that have populations of wild Orang-utans still hanging on, and one of the best of these is the Danum Valley. The Danum Valley Conservation Area is a very large area of remote virgin primary forest in East Sabah, and is absolutely full of life. This would be a great place to have a look.

Our moment came on our second day of jungle trekking, when our guide took us down to a river crossing at the beginning of a trek. There was one other guide there, who had clearly spotted something, so we went down to the river bank to see if we could get a better look. Once at the bank, we could see movement in a tree on the opposite side. A middle-aged orang-utan was sat in the t…

Sabah, Borneo: The Bornean Rainforest

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The Bornean Rainforest is a truly magical place. Birdsong fills the air, accompanied by the sounds of insects and monkeys. The dense vegetation hides many secretive creatures, and the canopy provides a home for others. This rainforest is some of the oldest in the world, and it was a real treat to visit and experience it.


The first thing that struck me when I entered the rainforest is the incredible sound. It is never quiet. Insects fill the air with sound, and birds are always singing. Mist covers the canopy in the early morning, creating an almost eerie atmosphere. But the best thing about the morning is the call of the Bornean Gibbon. Their wonderful sounds echo through the valleys and hills, acting as the alarm of the forest. The insects and the birds continue throughout the day, before being replaced by the evening shift of owls and frogs, which all create their own unique sound to add to the rainforest ambience.



After spending a few days in the rainforest, I also realised how diver…

Singapore's Wildside!

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August is going to be a wildlife-packed month on the blog. For a quick note on why, click here.

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Today's blog post is coming all the way from Singapore. We have a few days here before heading off elsewhere (more), so I decided to see what wildlife I could find in one of the world's only city-states.

I was very impressed by Singapore. The city is very green and, in amongst the skyscrapers and buildings, there are lots of small patches of trees and shrubs. Wherever there is free space, there are trees. Singapore also has a lot of vertical greenery. Many of the buildings have plants and vines growing around them, and some have built-in balconies supporting mini-parks above the streets below. The whole place has a very green feel to it, and it's great. And greenery normally means wildlife.

I'll start with the birds. The most abundant bird in Singapore is the Javan Myna, and we have seen a lot…