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  SOS Rhino : In the News : News From The Field : Monthly Field Report for December 2004
 
MONTHLY FIELD REPORT
DECEMBER 2004
  December is a month of festivity. All over the world Christians celebrate Christmas Day. Unfortunately, it is the month of flooding in this part of Borneo. The water level of the Segama river has already rising as the weatherman predicted more rain over the area. The North East Monsoon blows from November to February. This time around, our team did not manage to retrieve loose logs coming from the upper river as we were all involved in a survey at the core area.

One of our field assistants Husrin has left for a better pasture in the shipping line. Our new recruit is Rayner Bili, a graduate from a local University. His month started with a soccer match between SOS Rhino and the villagers at Parit. It was a draw. More soccer games are expected in the future.


Pix shows SOS Rhino soccer team with village team before the game started.

A 6-day rhino survey from 16th - 21st December 2004 led by Dr. Edwin Bosi was conducted. One of the objects of this survey was to assess the study site of Dr. Thaya, who took time out from his laboratory work to come along. Ten field staffs were involved including our new recruit, Rayner Bili.

The survey proved fruitful as we found two fresh rhino tracks about 3KM from each other. The sizes were slightly different. This will be addressed by using statistic. We saw wallows and retrieved some hairs. We came across plants browsed by the animal. We also saw rub marks, horn and bite marks on young saplings.

The weather was not favorable. We encountered flash flood, a dangerous phenomena in the rainforest. When it rains upstream, massive amount of water will flow down stream at tremendous velocity. One will be taken by surprise by the rushing water. For those with experience in the jungle, one can hear the rumbling sound of incoming water. Beside the sound, one can also see a gradual rising of the water level with lots of bubbles and forest debris.

We did not encounter any encroachment nor any sign of human activity during this survey. We were surprised that the rivers do not have many fishes as they used to. The heavy rain may be the reason for this. We did see an orangutan.

As we followed the rhino tracks, we realized that it was close to the wallow where, France Bianus, one of the field assistants, saw a female rhino. We decided to visit the wallow and also, to the stream that she washed and left a streak of muddy stain in the stream. This time round the rhino did not visit the wallow but did go to the stream, maybe for another bath.


Pix shows Dr. Bosi and his team heading to the survey site, along the tributary of Tabin river.


Pix shows Dr. Bosi and Thaya examining the plants browsed while others team members were taking the measurement of the hoof prints.


Pix shows team leaders briefing the team prior to the start of the day's survey (photo in digital camera).


Pix shows team members using the vine to cross over the surging river to the campsite during the flash flood.


Pix shows a huge python cooling itself in the river after having swallowed an animal.


Pix shows a make-shift camp along the river. This camp was abandoned for higher ground as flash flood was imminent that night.


Pix shows the wallow where France Bianus saw a female rhino.


Pix shows Dr. Edwin on the stream that the rhino came to wash herself.


Pix shows the river bank France Bianus saw a 8-foot crocodile basking in the sun.





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