Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Featured on BBC

Dear everyone,
just a quick post. There's an article being featured on BBC news at 10, BBC World and BBC 24 about Danum Valley (10th Dec). It was being aired in Malaysia BBC World Channel at 5pm last monday and a longer footage on afternoon news yesterday. Deforestation, logging, rainforests, canopies, global warming and climate change was the main discussion. There's a snippet of me being interviewed while working on top of the tree as well. :D
this is the link to the video Video.

and link to the article
Timber today or climate tomorrow

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Yangtze river dolphin (the Baiji)

The Baiji (Lipotes vexillifer)

-estimated 75-150 in the wild.
-endemic to the Yangtze
-Declined from 500 in 20 years
-no captive population
-hard to find/assess

-10% of the world's human population lives on the banks of the Yangtze
-pollution from factories
-collision with boat propellers
-hard to locate

Proposed solution:
-100 km impounded stretch of th river where fishing would be banned and pollution from the banks controlled
-a 25 km oxbow lake with nets at each end
-captive breeding including 3 pools and a 1 km artificial river has been constructed.

erm...Any other solution??

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Ant wet specimens moved to Wet Collection Room

Hassan and I have moved most of the ant wet specimens from Bilik Belajar 3 to the Wet Specimen Collection room, just next to the Isoptera cabinet. All what we need now is to sort and document them. In some cases, we need to identify them too to genera. Thanks Hassan for the help.

Monday, October 22, 2007

News from CPS BORNEO

Hi all...
just to let everybody know that Ms. Milena Salgado-Lynn, a PhD candidate from Cardiff University is here with us for the next few years. Shes going to work in Kinabatangan on primates genetics. If you are anywhere near the CPS BORNEO office, please drop by and said hi.. she very nice and friendly.

Also, I would like to wish 'Selamat Hari Raya and maaf zahir batin' to everybody.



Monday, October 1, 2007

Which is the specimen?

I went to Sipadan to come face-to-face for the first time with the cooconut crab (Birgus latro). It was first described by Bazin (1970) - Bazin, F., 1970. Étude comparée de l''organe deutocérébral des macroures reptantia et des anomoures (Crustacés Décapodes). Arch. Zool. exp. gén. 111: 245–264.
If you're collecting this one for BORNEENSIS - what is going to happen to the Dynamo washing liquid bottle cap? He looks gorgeous in there, don't you thing so? Furthermore, you don't have to fix the cap with formalin and it goes well with alcohol 75%, too!

Monday, September 10, 2007


Guys, this is the captain speaking, please welcome our new members:

Pethrine, Buck, Fairus and Dato Noramly.

I hope you guys are comfortable, sit back, relax, enjoy the valley and contribute. This is BV797 operating to somewhere.


The midget's access to specimens

I received some updates from our friends in KL-based unis on the questions of how outsiders had access to specimens from Malaysia.

One of them is like so:

Provide some huge fund.
Use local vendors to buy specimens from locals.
Vendors collect specimens and pay locals.
After some times of accumulation, guys or their worms enter Malaysia using tourist visa.
They acquire the specimens and quickly fly back as quickly as quick tourist will be and...

People would think it will be difficult for midgets to get things out from Malaysia - because the checks at airports are sooooo intimidating. Believe you me, the real problem is actually to collect the bloody specimens.

Just a note to you guys, be a little more vigilant - for all you know, the specimens they are getting are of your own interests.


Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Dear all,

we just received about 600 butterflies specimens from Japan, which were arrived here in kk this morning (4th September - 2.00 am at KKIA).. thank to bak and pak zainal coz willing to help me to pick up the specimens.

to butteflies people... cantikkk tau tak percaya tanya fairus..kan fairus?

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Bambangan


The bambangan, Mangifera pajang was described by Kosterm in 1849 (previously M. odorata). I have never seen the tree but have certainly seen the fruit. It is now in season. Last time I checked out in Putra Jaya (Telipok), the larger fruit was RM1.50 per fruit and it was large. Bought 2 fruits.

Resepi Jeruk Bambangan

Buka kulit dia. Ko buli jaruk dia sama-sama kulit atau buka kulit juga. Buli main tarik atau main hiris macam kita kupas kulit mangga. Kalau main tarik, kita buat garisan membujur, kemudian tarik tu kulit macam kita buka kulit pisang.

Kemudian hiris isi dia ikut kemahuan kita naaanti bila mau makan tu jaruk. Kalau mau jual, buat nipis-nipis siikit dan jangan buka kulit main tarik. Biar main hiris saja supaya banyak dapat tu jaruk.

Kemudian balah biji dia. Jangan pandai-pandai cuba buka macam kita buka biji mangga sebab biji bambangan ni padat, tiada ruang kosong di celak perikarp biji tu. Balah saja pakai parang basar. Kemudian parut dia punya biji.

Kemudian, ya puan2, tabur garam dan tabur biji yang sudah diparut itu dan gaul. Kalau kita tinggi darah, simpanlah garam tu banyak-banyak, baru kita tau dia punya pukulan.

Simpanlah sampai dia jadi jaruk dan makanlah. Tiada polis mau tangkap.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Centre for Primate Studies BORNEO

Hi guys... just to let everybody knows that I'm hiring both Julia and Sheena as our new research assistants effective on 1st of September. The centre office (the old ID room 4) will be operational on the 3rd of September. The facilities still not complete but everyone is invited to drop by even for a chat. See you there!


Friday, August 17, 2007

How do you preserve a slug?


I think I've seen quite a bit of them and indeed are quite diverse in colours, size, forms, at different altitudes.

How do we preserve them?

This is one which I saw in the forest of Danum - didn't take it.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

New BORNEENSIS entry (The scarce wolf snake)

It takes a gut to immortality!

Not me, but a snake. She came to our camp and slithered on a hammock - just when the guy was settling for the night. Poor Patrick planned to have a dream, a cozy one. On Aug 4th, we had a dry week and this had been pleasant in the forest. But a she snake in bed is no lovemaking. The sex was right but the species was wrong!

It is a wolf snake, Lycodon effraenis, a colubrid from a group whose face somewhat resembles that of a wolf. Right there in the middle of the hammock, almost unsexily hungry for insects. Basically the bulge on the side of the snout is caused by larger side teeth, although the flabby upper lips of the wolf are the final ingredient that makes a wolf looks a wolf (even if the wolf is already toothless!).

So, here you are, guys. A wolf snake that made an entry at Borneensis today - it dies meaningfully for science.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More spider!!

These picture of spider was taken in Danum back in December 2006.
I think this spider is very cool though I dont know what species it is.
It stood up on people and prepared to fight!!! Danum Mike found it inside his Adidas kampung just before wearing it to go to work in the morning, we (me & Fiffy) rushed to get good pics.. :D
Sorry that the image is in low resolution, saving uploading time... ;)

Monday, August 13, 2007



I got the news from Dr Peter Koomen about the tarantula. Sounds good. Here's the excerp from his email to me:

Very nice photograph! Still it was not easy to identify. From the details I can see in the picture, I am quite convinced now that it is a Cyriopagopus, maybe even C. schioedtei (Thorell, 1891). To be sure, I have to do a few measurements and to check stridulation bristles between appendages. Luckely this will be possible, because you preserved the spider in alcohol (and not pinned and dried). If it is C. sch., then you have found this species for the first time on Borneo. Officially it is only known from West-Malaysia. It may, of course, also be a new species. Anyway, a very nice addition to the Borneensis Collection.

Here's the tarantula for you guys to see - I hope you have never seen it!


Common home spiders

Dear all,

I took some pictures of spiders that I saw in and around my house in Bandar Sierra. Some of them are small, but many are tiny. This is also to tell you how good the small camera is. I should say that it is convenient but it does not produce superior quality as SLR cameras would. Anyway, these are supppose to be common spiders because because they are commonly found in my house. But are they? Here goes.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Fogger & Chemical

Hello guys,
sorry that my first ever post is something so menial.
Does anybody knows what happen to our fogger? Is it still usable?
and also to Dr. Bak, do you happen to know where can I get the chemical for the fogger?
I'm going back soon (september) and will start fieldwork immediately.

p/s: I gave a talk to my research group last friday. It went very well.. :)

Friday, July 20, 2007

The blog is sleepy

Hi Guys,
I'm posting not to let the blog go to sleep! Some of us (Fairus, Benoit and I) might go crocking soon, collecting tissue samples from croc babies. I think there'll be no harm if we take one or two as specimens before they get to be real crocodiles.


Monday, July 9, 2007

musebase page hacked

Dear all,

our musebase webpage ( is hacked.

8 July 2007.

Monday, July 2, 2007

I'm in.. Bak

Friday, June 22, 2007


Hey, guys! Vanakkam!

Please note that all of you can now write, discuss, give comments and send pictures to BV. There are two of me in here, both are Amid (we use the same mind).



baru mau kinam try bah ni .....


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Getting to BV and other stories

Hi Guys!
Today, I can get into but I couldn't go to BV - funny, eh?

VC and ITBC Director visited Danau Girang during the weekend. They spent about 2 hours there. For those who are unfamiliar (I don't know if you have visited this place, I suppose some of you guys did during the Kinabatangan Expedition some years ago), DG is about 30 minutes boat ride downstream from Batu Putih (Kinabatangan Bridge). The facility (probably to be called Danau Girang Field Centre) was built about 10 years ago and UMS is expected to sign a tri-partied MOU to run the centre with SWD and Cardiff Uni. That will be one of our field stations. You may now think about projects to be done there and the centre is expected to operate under the MOU from middle of next year. Think about it - Kinabatangan is the longest river in Sabah.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A swamp in Kinabatangan?

Raymond (My Phd student) has been working in Kinabatangan the last 3 years, probably more, works on elephants. Recently when discusing the data, especially those from his satelite tracking, we saw this "void" in the wildlife sanctuary (sattelite pics of the Sanctuary), which he mentioned is a swamp. Based on the location, it cannot be a mangrove, rather a freshwater swamp. Now, this is interesting. I think it is sorrounded, partly by the sanctuary, but on its northern side, by oil palm. Raymond said people rarely go there because people are afraid to do so, so many snakes!

Well, I think it is interesting for Bornensis, whatever there are in that bloody swamp. Let it boggle your heads for a bit, may be something will work out later.

For the Botanists, I have just read a report by Susan Page of Manchester Uni about the information gaps on peat swamps. There's a huge gap on anything botany from peat swamps. The one and only peat swamp that has been well studied (which is not very well studied) is from North Selangor. Anybody fancy studying Pandanus from peat swamp? also, palms should also be an intersting one.

For guys who are doing small mammals, fish and herps, I think we already know what we will be doing if we ever get to step into those swamps, mozzy or not.

Now in Kedah, pekena a little bit of "nasi kander" - harga memang suda nai-la abangg...


Friday, June 1, 2007

New Herps for BORNEENSIS

These are the species of frogs collected in Klias recently (Thanks, Ahmad!)

  1. Nyctixalus pictus (1)
  2. Polypedates leucomystax (2)
  3. P. colletti (3)
  4. Rana baramica (12)
  5. R. chalconota (6)
  6. Limnonectes paramacrodon (4)

There were at least 3 other species (from calls) that we failed to catch on that visit. We'll see if we can grab them in multiple visits some us have planned throughout this year and early next year.

Ahmad, the rough-sided frog and the "thing" that had the bufonid call at check-point 3 need attention (we have not been in the swamp if we come back without the rough-sided frog!). A smaller one, which has a reddish color, Bufo quadriporcatus should also be there. I got loads of them in 1990 at Kpg Lumat, Beaufort.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Guys, I invited myself to BV and signed in. It was easy, just follow the instructions in your email sent by blogger. If you haven't got a google account, just create a new one by clicking "create your account now" and you'll get into BV in a wink and you will become a contributor. If you have any problem, let me know.

Amid at BV

Kotobian Tadau Tagayo do Kaamatan

Dear Borneensis people,
I wish you Kotobian Tadau Tagayo do Kaamatan and happy holidays. Just be careful on the road, the rice brew may just turn on a lot of things. See you guys again when we all come back.


p/s We might face a little bit of delay if we wanted to key in data into the musebase - you can see the problem posted by Azrie at the institute. But that doesn't stop us from actually preparing the specime and the data form. Students who are staying back are eager to do this for Borneensis (well, the frog and the fish groups are, at least!).


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Process Room

Hello Everyone!
Some of our students who did fieldwork in Tawau and Klias recently are working in the Process room this week. Some guys from the fish group are staying back for the whole break (which is good, since they're planning to go to the field this coming month - thesis). Thanks to you Peth for allowing them to work there.

I noticed that there are too many furniture that are not suppose to be in there - 2 exam tables, 3-4 arm-chairs that are suppose to be at the pantry, some boxes. I've asked Agos (and probably Ehsan, who heard me and maybe decided to help Agos :) ) to remove them and do a little bit of cleaning on the sink.

Because we are working with alcohol and formalin, it seems the air circulation in the room is not that good. May be we need to install an exhaust fan later - now I asked the students to open door and window when working. Also, because we do a little bit of cleaning for the bottles and vials in the room, the sink seems to be too small (and it makes you angry!). Peth, we need to talk about this with other borneensis guys sometimes.

OK, have a nice day.


Monday, May 21, 2007

It pays to know yourself! (so much about collecting for Borneensis)

Guys, what if you were stung by some bloody wasps and you're hypersensitive? What if, soon after you were stung, you developed the sensitivity responses and your skin started itching, your earlobes felt numb and thicker, you started coughing and boy, you just couldn't let it go. What if soon after that your breathing became more difficult and minutes after that you stopped breathing altogether? You're dead. Period.

Whether this happened here, Lembah In-Situ or Tabin, it didn't really matter. You make news, that's for sure. And if you made the choice, you're a specimen.

It pays to know if you were hypersensitive to anything, stings or not. It also pays if your friends you have in that situation knew how to do tracheostmy - and you do not like how this is done. If this is not for saving life, it is pretty close to slaughtering a chicken.

Now, let's take some precautions:
a) Know yourself a little bit more, try to remember if you have been told by your doctor about hypersensitivity.
b) Take your medicine
c) Check your first-aid kit BEFORE going into the forest (mine was not checked, and apparently anti-histamine and piriton tablets were ot replaced)
d) Don't make this post stops you from contributing for borneensis.

I was THAT (about 5 minutes) close!


Friday, May 11, 2007

Borneensis guys in Klias

We have just got back from Klias peat swamp. Sure, there a loads of specimens, and many are very-very interesting. But before that, I want to tell you that I found Kalsum's hut. It is about to fall and rotting fast. It is about 15 feet, made of timber and bamboo. It has windows and a door, a step-ladder and the roof is covered with a blue rain tarp. When she was finishing her project, she stayed there all by herself for one whole month on end. Why no picture? Yes, I will get it soon and will send it to her, too. My camera was wet while wading chest-deep water to get across entering the swamp - we were crossing the Sungai api Api. It was still flooding yesterday, although fading a little. Arifin sat neneath a tree and spent a good 10 minutes looking at the hut, yesterday. This morning, I could imagine why.

Kalsum's determination is hard to imagine, guys. I love this girl!


Thursday, April 5, 2007

Blogging the blog

Hi guys,
(Now in Tawau - I feel sooo close to Tawau Hills, and the would-be specimens!). I guess that the switch is still not swithed yet.

On Borneensis, as I said in the meeting, I think the herps need to be reviewed. By this, I suggest that Ahmad, Kelv and I should sometimes make some time so that we can go to the wet collection room and have a look. I noticed:

a) Some specimens bottles contain more than one species. somehow, I think, we put them in the bottles according to species.

b) I think, also, we need to set aside some of the specimens that are not identifiable at the moment. By this I mean, there are some species that are labelled as one species when they should rightly labelled as another.

c) about specimen tag numbers: I don't think we have an alternative between not having them and that they are expensive. the only way to reduce the price would be to order a long running numbers. the one that we ordered (I think in 1996, before the first expedition to maliau) ran out about now - and took us about 10 years. Do you think we will be collecting slower in this coming 10 years?


Friday, March 30, 2007

The Brochure

Hi Guys,
The Borneensis brochure in english is now available on desktop at the computer next to the printer. I have not been able to send it via email (using mozilla firefox - but if I send something to a group, it resets, and upsets me).

So, if you pop in and use that comp, just to the brochure and probably copy it and edit it in your room. Let's hope the internet will come back quickly.


Invitation and other notes

Hi, guys!
I have sent the first round of invitation yesterday and some rainbowstar is now included. I've sent some more invitation today and now I have sent a total of 23 open invitations, staff and students. If you have received this one, please respond so that the next time you visit the blog, you can start giving comments AND send posts. Also, immidiately after you respond to the invitation, you are able to comment and post.

*Dato NBM, Dennis Lau, RainbowStar, Datin Glenda and I talked over breakfast about getting "specimens" of bioacustics, or more specifically, frog calls (or any organism that calls for that matter). So Dennis was talking about one sound recorder (digital) that will stop after you record the same sound several time because it confirms to the copyright regulations (understandable if you're recording songs, commercially). Problem with frog calls is, the copyright goes to the frog!

Please note that Dr Jedol, Dr. Ho Chong Mun and Datuk VC have now joined the Sound and Vibration Research Group based at SST, headed by PM Dr. Jedol who received the FRGS on this one. Azman (Cicada hunter) has discussed with Dr Jed about his project and his intentions - probably in the end, to produce cicada-detector just as a bat detector does (ANABAT(R) is now a commercial brand). We welcome suggestions from BorneensisValley. Friends who work with vocal organisms, please feel free to discuss (Sorry, Dr. Mon, I wish mosses talked).

*If you fancy "new species", go watch channel 24 Astro, a series called Mon-Colle Knights. New species always turn up and I don't think the story will ever end, so long as human being keeps on reproducing.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Switch Witch

Dear friends,

It is a little frustrating to learn that what we have with the internet failure is actually a switch failure. I called UMTP that they are going to replace the switch and is will take a little it of time.

I wonder if BORNEENSIS will have a space in the compactor to keep the switch specimen once it is taken off the wall.

Amid (I know this has nothing to do with BORNEENSIS - or hasn't it?)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The BORNEENSIS brochure

Patherine has worked out the first draft of the brochure as we saw in the meeting – thanks heaps, Pat I had the soft copy and made some changes – but I’m sorry Pat, because I intended to do it via the Track Changes function. Because you have used “text box”, I found it a little complicated, so I made changes directly, but I have added some suggestions. I think there is a little bit more space that we could use and add some more information. While we work out the text, I think Pat can communicate directly with IMS for the arrangement of pictures and touch-ups (Itu memang makanan dia! – Henry’s words).

You will find the brochure draft in your emails - please take a look and read and give input and reply "to all".



Dear friends,
Following our discussion in the recent BORNEENSIS meeting, here’s the blog that we will all be using to communicate any comment, idea, argument, photos, discussion or anything is borneensisly related. The general aim of this blog is to let us “meet” and “talk” about BORNEENSIS, likely to be very short and light communications. These meetings and talks may later develop into more serious discussions up to some point when we will consider them to become written works worth publishing in the newsletter – the ultimate aim.

Let’s use Bahasa Malaysia and/or English.

For that matter, I am inviting everybody to also extend this spirit of discussion to all of our students. You can either invite them personally (by giving them the link), or just leave their emails here or via emails to me. I’ll invite them. (The info I shared with you on the murdered elephants came from our student, Farina and our SOS Rhino staff, Angel).

I will not be leading (nor will I be able to advice) the issues that any of you feel are important to be brought here. Therefore, everybody is free to give ideas and comments. But, somebody has to “own” this blog. If you don’t mind, let me be the owner for the time being.

I have, for no special reason, named this blog as BORNEENSIS VALLEY. I don’t really believe by changing the name (or otherwise) would change the reasons why we wanted to have this blog. What do you think?

OK, guys. I wish you Happy Blogging.