Friday, July 11, 2008

FIFTH LESSON: HERPETOFAUNA INVENTORY


In April 2006, my boss asked me if I want to join the herpetofauna inventory which is led by Dato' Dr. Bob from Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. As usual I am very excited to learn something new, even though deep in my heart I was a little bit scared because I have snakes, lizards and frogs phobia. I can not stand with frogs because of its smooth and slimy skin. Meanwhile for snakes and lizards, because some of it venomous. However, I will never say NO because I need to gain this valuable experienced.

This is my first experienced stay in the camp, which I have to sleep on the hammock. I was really enjoyed that trip because I really like to stay inside the forest. Our camp was build next to the river and we take bath in that river. I still remember my first experienced caught a frog during that survey. It was Rana glandulosa and it's almost escaped from my hands because it is too slimy.

During that trip, I learn to identify frogs into species level. It was very tough at first because all names were new to me. However, I was lucky because there were two assistants from Sabah Museum join our trip and they taught me a lot on identification. Bro Pat really teaches me a lot and I admire his skills on herps identification and his work in the field is really fantastic. When we go for frogging at night, his ability on spotted the frogs or lizards or snakes were really amazing.

I also help them with lab work where we take all the frogs, lizards and snakes as a museum specimen. We prepared it as a wet specimen and take liver tissues for DNA purpose. Once, I was warned by Dato' Dr. Bob, when I lost the tag number for the tissue tube. He was really angry and warned me for always be alert and careful when handling specimen tag. He told me that, specimen or tissues tube without tag number is useless. So, be aware that every specimen has the information needed. From that moment, I always remind myself to be careful when prepared any specimens. He is so true about it.

This field trip teaches me a lot on basic things about herpetofauna study. Even though one day I will not become a herpetologist but the experienced and skills that I get is very valuable and can not be replaced.

I thank all of team members in this trip, RFI, CSY, NM, Pat and Fred for the interesting and priceless experienced and knowledge. The spirit and passion shows by Dato' Dr. Bob Inger on carried out this field work and his determination really touch me and encouraged me to keep on doing something that i have my passion on. He was 85 years old that time (year 2006). Age is really doesn't matter to him.

P.S. I don't have photos during this trip and i attach my photo with Dr. Bob during our BCTPF conference early last year.
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