Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Snails from Semporna

The first phase of Semporna Islands snail project have been completed (Mac 2007 – Dec 2007). We found 45 species of land snails and 2 species of freshwater snails in Tun Sakaran Marine Park (TSMP) which consists of 8 islands.

Now, we know the species that can be found in those island. However, we also want to know why these islands are differ in their land snail’s composition? Thus, we begin with the second phase of the project – the snail's ecology and evolutionary biology.

During the last fieldtrip (together with & thanks to boss Hamid, Dato Noramly and Niza), we have started to look at their ecology and behaviour of some species. Also, we brought back some living specimens for some experimental studies. Now, they are being kept in INSECTARIUM.

Amphidromus sp. and its eggs

Obba cf. marginata, In Sabah, this genus only can be found in TSMP. Obba is a very speciose genus in Philippines. How did they get to TSMP?

Look like marine species? But this is freshwater
Neritina. Collected during the night - in a small......stream. Had visited the stream twice (Apr 2007 and May 2007) but never seen them.....but found them during this trip (Aug 2008)......strange.....


Looking through the eye of a rhino

You wouldn't see anything great looking through one - just a simple eye that is dark in nature, a little bluish on the sides, more wrinkled skin around it.. then you start to see the rough eyebrow. The animal might've been seeing something else, that was so different, a large eye with another weird  bipedal animal behind it.. and it suddenly burst with a flash, and again!

"Neeeee!" it said.
"niiiih" I said.
Suddenly we were friends.

I visited the recently captured Sumatran rhino who decided to venture out of the smallish Kretam Forest Reserve into an oil palm plantation. Suddenly we became concerned and capture operation was launched - although it failed to create any surprise, not even a tiny bit. "Kretam" walked into the crate. Closed. Lifted onto a truck. Sent to a paddock. Released. No surprise at all.

Only, Kretam is a bloke, hardly capable of becoming pregnant!

Dedi Chandra, a Vet from Way Kambas (Indonesian captive rhino facility) is now with him and taking care of him. Dedi said, looking at his appearance, he might still be reproductively sound. We need a girl for him, obviously. Fiffy, why haven't you visit him?

Top right: Mr Rashid Saburi (Officer In Charge for Tabin WR and Kulamba WR), Dr Dedi Chandra and I, just before I left Tam's paddock Tuesday.

Lower left: Tam's begging eye. This is one of the rare time when people get to see the real color of a Sumatran rhino - otherwise he color will always be "muddy".

Hamid (Still with a little bit of that nostalgic smell)