Rhino : In the News
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Field Report for April 2006
MONTHLY FIELD REPORT
Field Work at Tabin Wildlife Reserve
6th – 23rd April, 2006
FIFFY HANISDAH S.
The first phase field work for Rhino-Tourism in Lower Segama, Lahad Datu,
Sabah research was done on the 6th (Thursday) until the 23rd (Friday) of April, 2006. The field work was co-joined with two Australian researchers; Dr. Peter R. Law and Dr. Bradley S. Law.
The first phase field work was done entirely for rhino survey purpose. The rhino survey is hopefully to answer the rhino-tourism research objectives that are;
• To explore the potential of Sumatran Rhinoceros as nature-tourism product;
• To estimate the latest locations of the Sumatran Rhinoceros;
The rhino survey was done for 12 days The approaches used for the rhino survey was slightly different from what had been done by SOS RHINO RPUs. The rhino survey was done by using the “Footprint Identification Technique (FIT)” that was introduced by Dr. Peter Law to the SOS RHINO RPUs. The FIT had been successfully done and applied for black rhino (Diceros bicornis) at Africa. A brief FIT training course was done for SOS RHINO RPUs on the 7th April, 2006. The training itself was conducted by Dr. Peter Law with the help from Dr. Bradley Law. The training only focused entirely on how to get“good” photographs of the Sumatran Rhinoceros’ spoor.
On the 8th until 19th April 2006, SOS RHINO RPU led by Suzali Bin Jaya (Team Leader) together with me, Dr. Peter and Bradley Law to Tabin’s core area. The journey to base camp took us 4 days to reach. Upon reaching the base camp on the fourth day, all team members including myself were briefed by Dr. Peter Law on the assignments.
The team was divided into two. The first team was led by Suzali Bin Jali while the second team was led by Lusry Bin Basri. The team members for each of the team are as follow:
Suzali Bin Jaya (Leader)
Erman Bin Tara
Dr. Peter R. Law
Lusry Bin Basri (Leader)
Suhairin Bin Putra
Fiffy Hanisdah Bt. Saikim
Dr. Bradley S. Law
The rhino survey was at first done by following the transect line for 2 days. However, on the second day of the rhino survey; my team (2nd Team) followed a logging trail after a few hours walking. Along the logging trail, the team saw four new wallows. The search of rhino’s spoor was done at all four new wallows. The team only discovered rhino’s spoor at the fourth wallow. Due to heavy rain, the footprints were flooded with water and some of the footprints were unclear because had been stepped by elephants. It was estimated that the spoors were 3 weeks old.
Photo 1: Spoor discovered at the fourth wallow (logging trail area)
Photo 2: Spoor ready to be photographed
Photo 3: Rhino’s spoor
The third day of the survey, both teams followed logging trail in search for the rhino’s spoor prior to the discovery of rhino’s spoor along the logging trail by the 2nd Team. Unfortunately, both teams did not discover any signs of rhino’s activities or tracks such as wallows and spoors.
On the fourth day, both teams decided to make a survey along the river starting from base camp. After a few hours of walking along the river, again, both teams head back to base camp with a zilch.
On the fifth day of the rhino survey Dr. Peter had assigned the 2nd Team to return to the fourth wallow in search for rhino’s spoor. We tried to follow the logging trail further into the jungle. After several hours walking on the logging trail, there was still no sign of rhino’s spoor. Therefore, we decided to abandon the survey and head back to base camp.
The rhino survey was abandoned because of no sign of rhino’s track or spoor as well as bad weather condition. The team head back to Kg. Dagat on the 19th April 2006 and arrived at the village at 4.32pm.
On the 21st April 2006, Dr. Peter, Dr. Bradley, I, Dexven (SOS RHINO), Erman (SOS RHINO) and Milton Sat (SOS RHINO) went to Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre at Sandakan to take photographs of Gelugob or Tanjung’s (captive Sumatran Rhinoceros) footprints. However, due to dry season the spoors found were not in good shape (unclear). Once again, Dr. Peter and Dr. Bradley went home with empty hands.
Even though that I did not manage to track any signs of Sumatran Rhinoceros’ droppings and not much of its spoors, I am happy that I had this experienced trekking for them myself. The experience is important for me as it will help me a lot with my thesis writing especially in Chapter 5: Discussion. Due to changing of plan (went to Sepilok), I had abandoned my Human Component Survey at Kg. Dagat. The human component survey is for the tourism aspect research where questionnaires and interviews will be used in the survey.
For the human component survey or later known as Tourism Survey will be made during the second phase field work on the month of June. The second phase field work will only focused on the four villages that are Kg. Dagat, Kg. Tidong, Kg. Parit and Kg. Tungku.
This part of the report is about the photos taken during the entire first phase field work.
Photo 1: Me and the SOS RHINO KM 32 team.
(From left: Suhairin, Dexven, Lusry, Tindrus (Transport bags), Justin (Transport bags), Erman, Suzali and I)
Photo 2: Scenery inside the Tabin Wildlife Reserve.
Photo 3: In front of a wallow.
Photo 4: The fourth wallow where the rhino’s spoor discovered
Photo 5: Head village (Chief) of Kg. Dagat( Haji Bin Sali) and his wife (Ramah Binti Bayai).
Photo 6: I together with Dr. Peter R. Law and Dr. Bradley S. Law.
(From left: Dr. Peter, Dr. Bradley and I)