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Fieldwork in Borneo

July 20, 2011

I have just got back from two weeks in Sabah, Malaysia (north east part of Borneo), where I was helping to run a Cardiff University field course on Tropical Biodiversity. Cardiff University runs the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC), located by the Kinabatangan River.

Despite a great reduction in the area of Sabah covered by rainforest due to logging and conversion to oil palm plantations, the area is still rich in biodiversity. My role was to run the bird mist netting and supervise student projects on birds. We caught many beautiful birds, but most impressive was probably the black-and-red broadbill:

Black-and-red broadbill in the hand

A 4 m long saltwater crocodile was radio-collared by DGFC, and is providing novel information on the ranging behaviour of these awesome reptiles:

Radio-collared saltwater crocodile

The forest around Kinabatangan also hosts an impressive array of reptiles and amphibians. Many are nocturnal, but green tree lizards could be seen climbing high up into the trees in the day time. I came across this individual on the ground:

Green tree lizard

There were an extraordinary number of primates in the riparian forests, most easily seen by boat. I have never been anywhere with such sheer quantities of monkeys and apes. Proboscis monkeys have to be one of the strangest looking monkeys in the world. This is a bachelor male, who carried on stuffing himself with leaves while we looked on:

Proboscis monkey

I am already looking forward to next year’s field course!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2011 3:57 am

    What an interesting project! I’ve always dreamt of doing some volunteer work in Borneo but unfortunately I don’t have a scientific background.

    • July 24, 2011 9:19 am

      Thanks Sandra. There are opportunities to participate in research programmes all around the world without prior experience with groups like Operation Wallacea and Coral Cay. You have to pay but its worth it!

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