Thursday, September 18, 2008


The land of Borneo is the third largest island in the world and located at the centre of Maritime Southeast Asia. It’s richness in biodiversity makes it is one of the hot spot centre for the biologist (mammalogist, herpetologist, ornithologist, entomologist, botanist etc) to explore the undiscovered tropical rainforest. I searched information in the web and found some info from Wikipedia and it does provide this information:

There are about 15,000 species of flowering plants with 3,000 species of trees (267 species are dipterocarps), 221 species of terrestrial mammals and 420 species of resident birds in Borneo (MacKinnon et al. 1998). It is also the centre of evolution and radiation of many endemic species of plants and animals.

However, in the past few years, there are more species has been discovered by biologist and I found this article in WWF ( websites. I quote a little bit from this article and if to read more go to the sites. This news is in 2006 so it means there is a lot more adding into the Bornean species since now is 2008.

“At least 52 new species of animals and plants have been identified this past year on the island of Borneo, according to scientists.

The discoveries, described in a report compiled by WWF, include 30 unique fish species, two tree frog species, 16 ginger species, three tree species and one large-leafed plant species.

WWF says that these findings further highlight the need to conserve the habitat and species of the world’s third largest island.

As one of the local people of Borneo, Sarawak particularly, I feel it is a wakeup call for our own people to consider and think deeply on the needs of conservation (whatever we have in our forest). Development is a good things to be done because we don’t want to be left behind by the develop country. My personal thought is that, we can’t fight the development but we can HELP the developer (e.g. the leader of the state, country or any other stakeholders that involve in any kind of development – plantations, mills, etc) by working together with them. As far as I know, these developers always claim that NGOs or researcher is against development and always become threat to them to run their projects. Maybe because they don’t know why squirrels are important to the ecology? Or why we need peat swamp forest? I am not good in all of this but we have experts in every field that can help.

Hmm..i am not sure what message that want to share here but my main interests is that I don’t want Sarawak forest to be bulldoze and convert into plantations before we be able to know what we have inside our forest.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


As we walk through the dark night we saw one bird sleeping on the small tree branch. Trying not to disturb it, we slowly move towards it and take photos with it. It is so funny because the bird didn't notice our presence there or it pretend to be dead on that branch.

I try to touch it and i can touch it's fur. It doesn't move too. However, we didn't know what species of birds is it even though we are very close to it because we can not see it clearly. It's crawl it's head under it's flight feather and looks like a round ball.

Hahaha..this one is so funny. This is the first snake that i successfully caught and it is the first time i try to catch snake. This is only a small snake and i was terrified by it. I was very scared and nervous when i hold it in my hand. Because i have SNAKE PHOBIA. I try to overcome my phobia and at last i catch this snake. I will never forget this experienced. (Photo Credit: Joanes)


By Roslina Ragai - Conservation Department, Grand Perfect S/B, Bintulu, Sarawak.

Anthropogenic activities foster fragmentation and other such modifications of natural habitats can create serious threats to biodiversity. Nevertheless some types of patchy forest remnants within tree plantations can help to maintain certain types of wildlife, such as rodents. Rodents, the Order containing squirrels, rats and porcupines, are distributed widely in natural forest, artificial forests or plantations and near human settlements. Some are pest to crops but others play important roles in forest ecosystems. Their importance in carbon and energy fluxes in the tropical systems is widely accepted. Rodents compose a major food resource to a number of birds e.g. raptors, owls, snakes, felids and other carnivores. Moreover, they enhance the decomposition of plant matter in natural ecosystems.

The Planted Forest Zone (PFZ), located in the Bintulu Division of Sarawak, is an area established for the development of a large Acacia plantation by the Forest Department of Sarawak. Almost 55,000 ha of PFZ have already been planted with Acacia mangium, an exotic tree species that can produce industrial wood for pulp and papers within about seven years.

Since January 2005, small mammal surveys have been underway in collaboration with local and international partners in several areas of the PFZ. Acacia compartments, secondary forests and the less disturbed forests of two conservation areas (Bukit Sarang and Binyo-Penyilam Conservation Areas), conservation corridor (Bukit Mina Conservation Corridor) have been surveyed, along with forest remnants in planted Acacia blocks. However, only a relatively small area of the PFZ has actually been covered so far. Undoubtedly, many more interesting small mammal species are likely to be encountered.

The latest species observed was ranee mouse, Haeromys margarettae in Binyo-Penyilam Conservation Area (BPCA), found in a very unique habitat, mixed peat swamp and kerangas forest. Other interesting species of rodents discovered in PFZ areas are the three-striped ground squirrel, Lariscus insignis, horse-tailed squirrel, Sundasciurus hippurus, grey tree rat, Lenothrix canus and the thick-spined porcupine, Thecurus crassispinis.

A full understanding of small mammal distribution and ecology is still a long journey for us, both in natural forest as well as in the many man-made habitat mosaics which we are creating as Sarawak develops. Fortunately, it seems that a regenerating plantation forest can play an important role to provide a suitable habitat for some of the more adaptable species of small mammals. Even so, we must ensure the right policy, planning and management decisions are made for the long-term survival of these wonderful creatures.


I would like to thank the Conservation Department of Grand Perfect Sdn Bhd for their support and assistance in making the field work possible in PFZ. Special thanks to Mr. Rob Stuebing, Belden Giman, Nyegang Megom, Dr. Han Kwai Hin, Ch’ien C. Lee and for those who involved in this project.


Giman, B., Stuebing, R., Megum, N., Mcshea, W. J. and Steward, C. M. 2005. A camera trapping survey for mammals in a mixed use planted forest in Sarawak. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology.

Han, K. H. 2005. Field report on inventory study of small mammals and plants in Samarakan Nursery, Bintulu Planted Forest Area, Ulu Tatau from May 10 through 20, 2005. Grand Perfect Sdn. Bhd., unpublished report.

Wilson, D. E. and Helgen, K. M. 2005. Small mammal survey of Bukit Sarang and Samarakan. Grand Perfect Sdn. Bhd., unpublished report.