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  SOS Rhino : In the News : News From The Field : Monthly Field Report for March 2005
MARCH 2005
  Visit by Director of Fisheries to Dagat

The 4th to 6th of March is memorable for SOS Rhino. The Sabah Director of Fisheries, Mr. Rayner Stuel Galid and his senior officers made an official visit to Kg. Dagat. His entourage was received at the airport and stayed at SOS Rhino base camp at Tanjung Utik. On the 5th, Rayner and his officers had a dialogue with the Dagat folks. On hand to receive them were the Village Chief, Mr. Ajih Salleh, the Village Development and Security Committee members and all the villagers. After the speeches and questions & answers session, Rayner handed over 24 cast nets and confirmed the construction of a jetty. The Fisheries Department is also contemplating establishing a base camp in Dagat. For a fishing village, the presence of the Fisheries Department is long awaited.

Pictured below: Rayner (seated 4th from right) and his officers at Dagat

Along Tabin river, Rayner and his officers stopped to enquire from a fisherman about his catch

and below,

At sunset, the fisherman makes a livelihood out of the newly donated cast nets

Jakarta Meeting

On 19th to 22nd March, Dr. Edwin attended the proposed Global Management and Propagation Board meeting in Jakarta. The GMPB was formed from representatives from range countries (Indonesia and Malaysia) and members from rhino conservation organizations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, the United States and donors.

Dr. Edwin (2nd from left) in the GMPB meeting.

Program Officer in Perth

On 28th March, Dr. Edwin left for his weeklong vacation to Perth. It turned out to be a working vacation as he met with several people in Perth, discussing about partnership and working together with SOS Rhino. Dr. Edwin visited the Perth zoo and also met up with Mary Hutton, the Founder of "Free the Bear Inc".

[Pictured below]: Dr. Edwin meeting with Kerry Crosbie (L), Chairperson Asian Rhino Project and Robyn Marais, a film producer in Perth.

Above: Kerry Crosbie who is also an animal keeper at Perth Zoo giving Robyn and Edwin a close look at the beautiful white rhinos.

Reports from the field

Our Field Coordinator, Rayner Bili attended a 5-day wildlife management course in Danum Valley Field Centre organized by WWF-Sabah and Sabah Foundation. The course, which began on 5th March 2005 focused on the management and conservation of wildlife. The protection and management of Tabin Wildlife Reserve and Danum Valley Conservation Area were highlighted.

Our newly promoted Supervisor, Hayro Nuvin led a 5-member team in search of a 'hot spring' located in the eastern part of Tabin Wildlife Reserve from 27th to 30th March 2005. Mud volcano and hot springs are popular with large mammals as they visit them frequently for their mineral supplementation. According to Hayro, this trip was also exciting as he has two newly recruited field assistants, Helter Haam and Milton Sat, undergoing orientation. There was no sign of rhino, and the hot spring continues to be a mystery. On the eastern part of the reserve, the team saw evidence of orangutans, elephants, tembadau or banteng, samba deer and wild pigs.

Suzali Jaya - Field Team leader also newly promoted, led a 3-member team to Sungai Burung, which is along the Tabin river. The expedition was from 18th to 25th March 2005. Rhinos have been found using this area in many of our previous expeditions. Suzali's team found a 2-week old rhino hoof prints on 21st March. They measured at least 20 prints of both the left and right front legs. We will use statistical analysis to compare with our previous hoof prints, and look at possibility of identifying this individual. Our Research student is now developing a software, and after taking pictures with a digital camera, will scan the hoof prints that will 'hopefully' identify individual rhinos.

The team also found other wildlife - jungle fowl, hornbills, otters, monitor lizards, pigtail macaque, tembadau or banteng, Samba deer, wild pigs, elephants, Orangutans, porcupine, owl and group of red leaf monkeys.

A spectacular parasitic plant on a big tree

Some of the beautiful flowers of creeper plant dangling from tree branches

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