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  SOS Rhino : In the News : News From The Field : Monthly Field Report for November 2004
  Dr. Nan's Visit to Sabah

President and Founder of SOS Rhino Dr. Nan Schaffer visited Sabah in November 2004. Her itinerary included a special visit to the rhino breeding project at Sepilok and meeting with government officials, NGOs and partners in conservation.

Nan's first function was to host a dinner with the NGOs in Sabah at Seafood restaurant. The NGOs were Drew Boshell from Raleigh International, Simon Amos from TrekForce, Raymond Alfred from AREAS-WWF Sabah and Calley Beamish from OMSF (Oceanic Marine Sanctuary Foundation). The others were Dr. Edwin Bosi, Dr. Thaya (SOSRhino-sponsored Masters student) and Anne Lajuat (SOSRhino Account Officer).

Pix shows Dr. Nan chatting with leaders of foreign NGOs in Sabah.

Nan flew to Sandakan the next day to meet up with Dr. Petra Kretzschmar (SOSRhino Field Scientist) and to do ultrasound on Gelogob. She also hosted a dinner for Mr. Khoo Eng Min, the Executive Director of PPB Oil Palms and his officers. PPB Oil Palm through its subsidiary, Sabahmas Plantation in Tabin, is our partner in conservation.

On the 9th Nan met with Mr. Patrick Andau, Director of Wildlife Department and his senior officers. Many issues were brought up and discussed. Dr. Petra gave a power point presentation on the progress of the reproductive research work with the two rhinos at Sepilok. Nan discussed about the prospect of Artificial Insemination (AI), which received positive response from Mr. Andau and his officers.

Pix shows Dr. Petra briefing via power point Wildlife Department's Director Andau and his officers.

The 10th was equally hectic for Nan. A Board of Director meeting of SOS Wildlife (Borneo) was held. Nan is one of the three Directors. SOS Wildlife (Borneo) will be changed to SOS Rhino (Borneo) to reflect the link with SOS Rhino (USA). Again many issues were discussed. The Rhino Challenge 2005, a fund raising event, was discussed in detail. The event will be held middle of May and ends at the time when the major Harvest festival celebration starts. Nan hosted a dinner for Ms Margaret Fung, the CEO of Sabah Synergy Corporation and the major stakeholder in Tabin Wildlife Resort. Those in attendence were Mr. John Lo and Laura Bazan from Carlotas Borneo Holidays and Dr. Toshinori Tsubouchi (JICA advisor to the Sabah Wildlife Department).

On the 11th Nan met with Dr. Mashita Yusof from University Malaysia Sabah (UMS). The discussion centered on Thaya's research. She is one of the major supervisors of Dr. Thaya. Dr. Petra and Dr. Edwin Bosi were also present.

The next day Nan hosted a dinner for the Honorable Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Hj. Karim Hj. Bujang. The Assistant Minister is a strong supporter of SOS Rhino and has at all times assured Nan of his support. Also present were Prof. Datin Dr. Maryati Mohamad (Director of the Institute of Tropical Biology and Conservation, UMS), Mr. John Lo, Laura Bazan, Dr. Petra and Dr. Edwin Bosi. Nan left for Hongkong on the 13th November.

IUCN Congress, Bangkok 16th - 25th November 2004

Dr. Nan and Dr. Edwin were in Bangkok to attend the IUCN Congress. Many prominent people were met including Mr. Mohd. Khan Momin Khan, Chairman of the Asian Rhino Specialist Group, Mr. Fred Bagley of USFWS, Mr. Augustine Tuuga, Wildlife Department Sabah, Dr. Nico Van Strien, Dr. Billy Karesh and Dr. Robert Lacy.

Pix shows Nan and Edwin with Mr. Mohd. Khan Momin Khan with his Scott's award from SSC, IUCN.

Pix shows Nan and Edwin with Mr. Fred Bagley of USFWS.

Pix shows Nan with Mr. Augustine Tuuga, Sabah Wildlife Department.

Field Reports

The Program Officer visited Tabin on 29th - 30th November 2004. As usual, he was checking on the progress of the team, pay salary and overtime, and planning for the next month activity. November saw one of the field assistants, Husrin Osop leaving us to join his brother as a sailor in a merchant ship. A new field assistant has been recruited. Rayner Bili is a graduate from the University Malaysia Sarawak with honors in Development Planning and Management. He is also commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Malaysian Army and a member of the reserve officer's training unit. Rayner will spend at least 3 months as field assistant before we decide on his next position.

Report from Hayro Nuvin (19th - 28th November 2004)

Team leader, Hayro Nuvin led a team comprising Amit, Justin and Lusry to make a transect from to Awi's camp from the 19th to 28th November 2004. They reached Sg. Burung along the Tabin river and found 2-day old rhino dung. They took many hoof print measurements and photographs, and also collect the dung.

Their logbook indicated:

Date Rhino evidence Other wildlife observed Remarks
19th Nov. The team found fresh rhino hoof prints and dung. Wild pigs, purple heron, eagle, oriental darters  
20th Nov. No rhino sign River terrapine, mouse deer, woodpecker, orangutan nests Rain
21st Nov. No rhino sign Gecko and hornbills Rain
22nd Nov. No rhino sign Longtailed macaque, hornbills.
23rd Nov. No rhino sign Prints of elephants, tembadau (wild cattle), sambar deer, barking deer. Calls from gibbons.
24th Nov. No rhino sign Python, otters and orangutan nests  
25th Nov. No rhino sign Rest day  
26th Nov. No rhino sign Gibbons callings
27th Nov. No rhino sign Encountered herd of wild elephants, barking deer, orangutan, White-tailed Asian Paradise, gibbon, hornbill.  
28th Nov. No rhino sign

Saw barking deer, red leaf monkeys.

Along the river by boat they saw 3 sambar deer, 3 wild pigs, group of longtailed macaque, 2 purple heron, oriental darters.

Field Report from Tinju Isa (8th - 19th November 2004)

Tinju Isa is in-charge of RPU 1. He led a team comprising France Bianus and Frederic Micheal. The tasks were to check on the route used by people around the areas to enter Tabin reserve.

Briefly, there was no rhino evidence along this transect. The team found many hoof prints, and of interest were hoof prints of elephants and sun bear. The common ungulates encountered were Sambar deer, Barking deer, Mouse deer and wild pigs. The team saw orangutans and their nests. Other sighting were the jungle fowl and long tail macaque.

Field report from Sarinus Aniong (8th - 11th November 2004)

Sarinus Aniong is in-charge of RPU 2. The tasks are mainly to undertake rhino survey, patrolling and monitoring. In this trip he was accompanied by Hayro Nuvin, Amit Pilik and Suzali Jaya.

The team found 5-day old rhino hoof prints. Dung and plant browsed including roots were collected. In the area, the team also encountered monitor lizard, hornbills and jungle pheasants. Hoof prints of elephants, wild pigs and sambar deer are common. Two orangutan nests were also seen.

Field report from Sarinus Aniong (19th - 22nd November 2004)

Sarinus went out again for a rhino survey. His team comprised of Rajimah Kasran, Suzali Jaya, Marniah Sapran and Bendis Atak.

Rhino evidence was obvious in this area. Several hoof prints- freshly made were found and measured. Of interest was the finding of several pile of dung, some along the trail, others near the wallow and up on a ridge. The team found fresh rhino tracks and dung during the last week expedition in the same area. Rain has washed away all the evidence but this trip's finding indicated that the rhino is using this area very frequently.

This area is also frequented by other wildlife such as elephants, wild pigs, sambar deer, monitor lizards and jungle fowls.

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