In Jakarta, Dr. Nan and I attended the Global Propagation Management
Board meeting at Atlet Century Park Hotel on 1st March. The GPMB
has specifically discussed a paper in response to the Indonesian
authorityfs intention of moving US-born Sumatran rhino Andalas
to Way Kambas, and moving Bina to Cincinnati Zoo. The GPMB technical
committee has given its approval after hearing several comments
from its members. One of the issues raised by Dr. Edwin Bosi is
the level of competency in rhino reproductive biology. He has proposed
that a special technical meeting to address this issue should be
held soon in view of the proposal in moving these rhinos from Indonesia
to USA and vice versa. The committee has agreed that Cincinnati
Zoo should lead in this technical meeting.
Pix shows the GPMB meeting in progress.
Pix on left shows Pak Inov, ProgramOfficer for Javan Rhino conservation (3rd
from left) with his team that supported the meeting.
On my return from Jakarta, I was already preparing to make a special excursion into Tabin reserve with seven volunteers from the 5th to 9th March 2006. Aleisha Caruso, the U.N Ambassador of Wildlife to Australia was on her second trip to Tabin. Aleisha has just completed her promotional trip to China for the endangered Panda and made a brilliant decision to make a stopover in Sabah to promote the Sumatran rhino of Borneo. She was accompanied by Ashley Young who is also on her second trip, Chantal Caruso and Trevor Paddenburg. The other group was led by Tengku Puteri Soraya the daughter of YM Tengku Adlin, Chairman of Sabah Tourism Board. Tengku Puteri Soraya or TPS in short is involved in adventure expedition. Her trip to Tabin reserve is to assess the potential of this area for such activity. With her were Bob Chee, an Engineer based in Perth, Australia and Lim Kwee, a businessman dealing with outdoor activity based in Brunei Darussalam. Lim Kwee has just opened a similar outlet at Wawasan Plaza in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Aleisha and her three companions took the opportunity to stay with the Dagat village chief, in a home-stay program initiated by JICA-Sabah Wildlife Department. The hospitality of the Dagat chief and his family was overwhelming. The food was fantastically great. Except the rice the menu comprise of fresh prawns, young banana vegetable, fish and mollusc. These are natural resources gathered within the village environment.
The group not only has the chance to sample the delicious food cooked by the
wife of the village chief but also, the tradition way of eating | using the fingers.
However, the food cooked by the RPUs in the forest was equally tasty and yummy.
Pix shows Trevor, Aleisha, Ashley and Chantal on arrival at Dagat base camp. They came in when the water tide was low and had to push the boat to deeper water. Notice their muddy legs.
Tengku Soraya, Lim Kwee and Bob Chee enjoying lunch in a stall in Lahad Datu.
Pix shows the group enjoying a traditional dinner while below shows Aleisha
and Tengku Soraya having tea with Dagat village chief.
Pix shows Trevor, Ashley and Aleisha testing the hammock.
of the campsite from the other side of the river. For the first time, tents
have been introduced for the RPUs to reduce usage of saplings. Also, notice
the huge tree that fell across the river and impeded our progress upstream.
Pix shows Team Leader, Suzali briefing the survey team on what to look
for prior to the trekking. A nice reward after a tough trekking was a yummy
lunch prepared by the RPU.
Pix shows two members of RPU making fried rice for breakfast.
Aleisha visiting the post-flood SOS Rhino (Borneo) base camp at Tanjung Utik.
It is now under two feet of soft mud.
Interesting fauna and flora encountered
Pix shows a Borneon orchid at Tabin Wildlife Resort. On right, is one of the
edible mushrooms found in Tabin reserve.
Pix shows droppings of a civet comprising mainly seeds. Civet plays an important
role as seed dispersal agent.
A common freshwater carp found along
Pix shows three hornbills flying passing by our campsite while
on right, was a Brahminy Kite that constantly hovering above our camp and gspyingh on
SOS Rhino (Borneo) Volunteer
Jose poses at Lahad Datu rhino statue
Pix shows Dr. Edwin Bosi with a volunteer from Portugal, Jose
Jose Dias Ferreira is a Mammal and Bird Curator at Lisbon Zoo, Lisbon, Portugal.
He has heard of our efforts to save the Sumatran rhino from extinction through
our international sponsors in wildlife conservation. Unlike his predecessor,
Alfonso de Albuquerque the conqueror, who sailed the seas, Jose took a flight
in! And, for 19 days he was a SOS Rhino Borneo ecaptivef and eentrappedf in the wilds of Tabin. He kept abreast with the fast paced but agile footed and confident RPU members. He had first hand experience on the struggles of the patrol unit in searching for the elusive rhino, endless trekking, traversing rivers (swollen within minutes after a heavy downpour), slippery vertical ascend and descending terrain, food rationing, just to name a few of the routine challenges of our protection unit. Jose joined our RPU 1 members, under Frederic Micheal, a.k.a. gJJh (RPU
1 Team Leader). Jose promises to spread news of our effort to his side of
the world. Obrigado, Thank-you, in Portuguese.
Development Officer visited Tabin
Gem Asildo, SOSRB Development Officer finally found a window to go to Tabin.
She arrived in Lahad Datu on 9th March and spent 10 days with the Field Coordinator,
Volunteer Coordinator and the RPUs.
She files her report:
gBetter late than nevercat long last I get to encounter for myself the wilds of Tabin. Our staffs had a field day in Tabin this March as we had volunteers coming and going. At the airport, on my flight in, I met the Aussies (Aleisha and her gang) and Tengku Sorayafs
group, all under the care of Dr. Edwin.
Lynn, Marikus and I made our way to Tungku on March 10th to meet up with Amitfs and Miltonfs team who were headed to their outpost. On hand to greet us was the Head Village (Miltonfs father). I followed the RPUs to their base camp to drop them off, rain poured out from the sky as we manoeuvred into the base camp hampering my intention of staying a while longer. Johnny, field assistant cum driver and I had to exit pronto to avoid being stranded on our way back as the bunch of streams we passed through earlier might overflow. Alas, we returned to Tungku as dusk sets in, we had a long way to go to Tabin-Trekforce base camp. I made my way up to Dagat with Johnny on the following day passing through our Tabin Trekforce base camp which was deserted except for Rasaman who was waiting for us, the rest has gone to their outpost. Dagat awaits us for another 2 hours on rough, bumpy, muddy and slippery road! Our land journey ends, and we were met by Erman on a boat for Dagat base camp. Suzali (RPU 2 Team Leader) and the rest of his team gave a warm welcome as I settled in and Suzali briefed me on our jungle trek and survey which begins the next day. I spent 8days and 7nights with Suzalifs
team. The jungle experience was good as I get to acknowledge the abilities
of our RPU to carry out their patrolling and survey tasks. Map, GPS, compass
and, callipers were among the most important equipments for a rhino survey
besides other necessities. All members are well trained in handling these equipments
and situations. Our team is also equipped with digital cameras, cameras get
spoilt easily due to the forest environment i.e. weather, humidity and the
like and it is costly to maintain but nonetheless a necessity for the survey
The day after our return to base camp in Dagat (March 17th) , we were joined
by Jose our volunteer from Portugal, Lynn, Alexter and Marikus who came over
from Tabin Trekforce camp.
That was my trip from one base camp to another. If you have never seen oil
palm plantations before, rest assured you will get a feast of it on your way
into the Tabin Wildlife Reserve area! And you will have them etched in your
mind for a long time, endless stretch. Nonetheless, one gets rewarded with
sightings of the eagles, kingfishers, primates, jungle fowl, otters and many
more. Yes, the same goes as you trek in the jungle, this reserve land thrives
well in wildlife and vegetation, and hopefully our future generation may have
the chance to attest to it. An onus (wildlife and environmental conservation)
to be borne by all peoples, ensuring that we do not deprive generations to
come nor ourselves of this privilege.h Gem.
Below are selected pictures of my trip.
At Tungku with Milton and Amitfs team
gMy Teamh ready for a trek: RPU 2 L-R: Erman, Rasaman, Suhairin,
Lusry, Suzali (Team Leader)and, Johnny.
After a hard day of trekking, the team relaxes with informative pocket sized
In the brick jungle of Kota Kinabalu, rhino conservation continuesc
Charity Dinner at Charles Place
On 11th March, a charity dinner was organized at Charles Place, one of the
finest restaurants in Kota Kinabalu in aid of SOS Rhino (Borneo). Charles Miao
the owner of the restaurant was so excited about this charity dinner because
Ashley Young, SOS Rhino (Borneo) volunteer from Australia had agreed to perform
during the function. In fact the charity dinner was entitled gOne Night with Ashleyh.
She brought along a strong entourage from Down Under including the three Carusos;
Aleisha, Carolyn and Chantal. Recording artist and composer Ricky Lim was on
the organ to provide lots of music and songs.
Ashley and Ricky
Before the dinner started, Charles gave a moving speech on the need to conserve
the Sumatran rhino of Borneo. He was very pleased that he could play some part
in its conservation. Aleisha gave a great speech on the role of international
community in conservation. She is the Australian Wildlife U.N representative
and a strong advocate on conservation of endangered species. Dr. Edwin Bosi
SOS Rhino (Borneo) Managing Director gave a speech touching on the status of
the Sumatran rhino in Borneo.
The collection of the night came to RM380.15. Charles has offered 20% of the
proceeds from sales of the night which came to about RM480.00. Earlier in Perth,
Aleisha went round in her favourite pub with a donation tin. She raised A$45.00.
Carolyn, the big mom of Aleisha and Chantal has raised RM1400.00 for SOS Rhino
(Borneo) to purchase a new computer.
Dinner in pictures
Ricky Lim and the Aussie girls
Charles Miao with Tengku Puteri Soraya
Carolyn going around with a donation box
Ashley, Aleisha and Charles in action
Aleisha speaking to the diners
Chantal in action