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Saturday, January 23, 2016

MNS Birding trip at Kubah NP on 18 Jan 2016 Pictures taken by James Lee Onn

Birds seen that day:
Yellow Vented Bulbul
Hairy backed Bulbul
Abbots Babbler
rufous crowned Babbler
Blue Winged Leafbird
Crested Serpent Eagle
Asian Fairy bluebird
Yellow rumped Flowerpecker
Ashy Tailorbird
Black and Yellow Broadbill
Narcissus Flycatcher
Crested Jay
Finch's Bulbul
Racket Tailed Drongo
Yellow Breasted Flowerpecker
Tenmincks Sunbird
Greater racket Tailed Drongo 
Rufous Backed Kingfisher
Scarlet rumped Trogon (F)
Rufous Tailed Tailorbird
Orange Bellied flowerpecker
Scarlet Minivet
Red Crowned Barbet

those below were also seen by people in the group but I didn't get enough of a look to count them for myself:
Spotted Fantail
Asian Brown flycatcher
The Shama!
some type of spiderhunter

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Slow lorises are not pets January 17, 2016, Sunday Mary Margaret

As slow lorises are venomous with a potentially deadly bite, their sharp pointed teeth are often  clipped with nail cutters without anaesthesia for the pet trade. — Photo by International Animal Rescue
As slow lorises are venomous with a potentially deadly bite, their sharp pointed teeth are often
clipped with nail cutters without anaesthesia for the pet trade. — Photo by International Animal Rescue
“OH they are so cute – we should get one for a pet!” Well no, we shouldn’t!
Endangered slow lorises are supremely adapted to life in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. It was only after 2009, however, when YouTube videos showed owners tickling this endangered primate that they shot into the limelight.
Suddenly they were sought after as pets around the globe. They are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.
The 10 species of slow lorises, Nycticebus sp, which are members of the Lorisidae family, inhabit low to medium height forests from Northeastern India to China, the Indonesian provinces of Sumatra and Java, as well as the island of Borneo and into Southern Philippines.
In Indonesia, they are called malu-malu or shy animals. In Malaysia they are known as kongkang or kera duku. Kera is Malay for monkey, while duku is the fruit-bearing tree Lansium parasiticum. Both names are apt descriptions for this shy animal does eat that fruit.
Slow lorises are adapted to life in the trees as their hands and feet easily grasp branches.
All digits have nails except the second one of the foot. They move slowly and deliberately; unlike other primates they never jump.
These small primates range in colour from pale greyish-brown to reddish brown with a dark brown stripe down their backs and a white one between their large luminous eyes. Although adorable, these nocturnal creatures are one of the few venomous mammals in the world.
In 2009, YouTube videos of a ‘pet’ slow loris being tickled received thousands of views and likes. Many viewers thought that the slow loris was enjoying this experience. However, its arms were raised because it was likely trying to get to the venom producing glands on either side of its elbow – so it was a defensive pose rather than one of enjoyment.
The venom is brushed over its fur and teeth. The poison is believed to inhibit the presence of pests for example leeches and protects them from being eaten. Females also bathe their young with this poison to protect them. Its bite can cause humans to go into shock and possibly even death.
Slow lorises generally sleep the day away and are able to blend in with the forest. This along with the venom are the ways in which they escape their two common natural predators – snakes and orang-utans. They have very large eyes so they can see their prey when they are active at night. Bright lights would cause a great deal of pain. These eyes add to the cuteness factor of this creature, but intensify their unsuitability as pets.
Several organisations are tackling the pet trade through social media and graphic descriptions, as well as appeals to our better nature, to save this animal from one of the greatest threats to its survival – the pet trade.
International Animal Rescue (IAR) launched its ‘Tickling is Torture’ online campaign that asks viewers to pledge not to like videos of pet slow lorises. The devastating effect of the pet trade on individual and wild populations were clearly presented via gut-wrenching still photographs and videos by IAR at the Asia for Animals (AFA) conference organised by the Sarawak Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) recently.
Other threats include habitat loss due to changing land use patterns and fragmentation of the remaining forests. Fragmentation refers to small patches of forest that are not connected. However, the pet trade remains the biggest threat.
Most slow pet lorises were captured from the wild and this could include young, adults or entire families. As they are venomous with a potentially deadly bite, their sharp pointed teeth are clipped with nail cutters without anaesthesia.
This is an excruciating painful process.
During the AFA conference, one of the participants showed a video clip of a slow loris undergoing this process. Its terror and cries of agony, which filled the conference room, continue to reverberate through illegal animal trade markets.
Imagine an extremely bad toothache and a broken tooth. Think about the pain and the rush to the dentist. Perhaps now you can imagine the agony a slow loris goes through when its teeth are cut.
Slow lorises are next transported in tightly packed crates and the death rate ranges from 30 to 90 per cent. Even bright light causes pain as their large round eyes are adapted to see in the dim night-time forest. They can be smelly as they use urine to mark their territory. They are neither cats nor dogs and are truly not meant to be pets.
Videos published in 2011 and 2013 by SlowLorisChannel of a slow loris, which were supposedly bred domestically in Japan, show overweight animals clasping a fork or eating a banana with flexible hands. This diet is not what the animals would eat in the wild. Their natural food consist of small animals, insects, pulpy fruits and the sap or gum from trees. Their acute sense of smell even enables them to identify fruit.
One argument for keeping these animals as pets is that they are endangered, but outside the ones in Japan, which are claimed to be domestically bred, most come from the wild – an illogical argument.
There are however, problems returning confiscated slow lorises to the wild because their teeth have been clipped. To overcome this, IAR is working closely with universities and scientists to develop successful rehabilitation programmes for confiscated animals. Some, which have
intact teeth, have been released into the wild. IAR are working with dentists to determine if the cut teeth can be repaired or replaced. The aim is to return as many slow lorises as possible to the wild.
To this end IAR released six confiscated but healthy slow lorises into the wild in Java, Indonesia last year. The animals, upon arrival at the site, were released into an inhabitation cage containing natural vegetation. Once the team decides they are able to fend for themselves, they will be released into the wild giving them a chance to live out their lives.
This is where the slow lorises belong. So say no to the pet trade.

Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2016/01/17/slow-lorises-are-not-pets/#ixzz3xTjvvre0

Land reclamation: Raising land from the sea

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

‘Our monkeys are at risk’ 

The proboscis monkey is one of Malaysia's endangered species.
The proboscis monkey is one of Malaysia's endangered species.

PETALING JAYA: They are in our cities and in our jungles, on the trees, and, telephone and power lines.
Environmentalists say, however, there is not much else most can relate about Malaysia’s primates, as the Year of the Monkey swings in this Chinese New Year.
“You have the crab-eating macaque (kera). They are everywhere. 
“And then you have the extremely charismatic and endangered great ape, the orang utan,” WWF-Malaysia executive director Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma told The Star.
He said Malaysia had many primates from the lar gibbon to the once-thought extinct stump-tailed macaque, found in parts of Asia but here only in northern Malaysia.
“Yet mostly foreigners and some locals, are interested in them,” added Dr Dionysius.
“They are all charismatic in their own way ... (but) you don’t find groups of people looking for primates,” he said.
The IUCN Red List, an international inventory of animal types, showed 21 primates listed in Malaysia.
Slow lorises and tarsiers made this list too, though monkeys, apes and others made up 17 of those present. 
Seven of the 17, including the siamang, are endangered today.
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Malaysia director Dr Melvin Gumal said many primates here were at risk from hunting and land clearing.
Some gibbons, he said, were “territorial” and that it was not so simple for them to move when their trees were chopped down.
“So when the land they’re on is converted, they lose out,” he said.
He said while it was good for primates to have large protected areas to live in, enforcement was most important of all.
“It’s one thing to say please do not hunt. It’s a different thing to be on the ground,” said Gumal.
With this in mind, he said some, like orang utans, bred slowly, with each female giving birth to only three or four young in their lives.
The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry previously said it would commit to retaining 50% of forest cover and ensure jungles were not fragmented.
Dr Dionysius said it was good to have government policy on keeping forests here intact, but efforts must be taken to ensure there were animals, especially primates there.
“How do primates fare in remaining forests? Research institutions and universities must take this up.
“Otherwise we have forests, but we don’t know about the primates (in them),” he said.


Monday, January 4, 2016

Lets go outside

Into the jungle

In December 2015 MNSKB was involved with two groups of students who ventured into the jungles of Sarawak. 
On December 3, 2015, MNSKB had the wonderful opportunity to organise a one-hour activity for the Dyslexia School in Kuching, Sarawak Malaysia, during its   two-day camp at Gunung Gading National Park. The activity, to make a collection of leaf rubbings enable 10 students to explore not only shapes but also the texture of leaves.
Ann, who lead the activity said, 'This visit brought the students into the rainforests of Sarawak. To want to save something we have to know it.'  They felt the moisture, tread upon jungle paths, noted the array of leaf shapes and textures, heard the sounds of the jungle birds and insects; and connected with nature.
Nicole Neuner led a visit to the Matang Wildlife Centre that is part of Kubah National Park, on December 19, 2015.  The children made a short circuit around the centre looking at animals, which although caged, are on the whole in natural type environments. 

Ann, who helped Nicole, said, 'The children asked a lot of questions and they were really curious.  It was a great introduction to the natural world.'  Then the children drew their favourite animals; again a
structured activity with lots of flexibility that encouraged connection with the natural world.

Intuitively we know that nature and time spent outside is emotionally, intellectually and physically good for us.  It is also vital if we are to develop empathy and understanding of nature and conservation.  We have to be in it, not just reading or watching. 
The visits to Gunung Gading National Park and the Matang Wildlife Centre enabled the students to get this vital first hand experience that is necessary to develop a lifestyle that promotes conservation and appreciation of the natural world.  
Love Life, Love Nature 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

What’s out there? Treasure Hunt for Nature’s Valuable Leaves

Treasure Hunt for Nature’s Valuable Leaves

·      To collect leaves with different shapes
·      To make leaf rubbings of the leaves

How many of these shapes can you see on the nature walk?
1.    Look at the leaves as we walk along the path.
2.    Can you see leaves that have different shapes?
3.    Find one leaf for each shape.  Make leaf rubbing for each leaf that you find. 

How to make leaf rubbings
1.   Lay several leaves onto some newspaper.
2.   Put a piece of paper over the leaves.
3.   Use the full length of crayon to gently rub over the leaf.
4.   The rubbing should show lots of details.

Think about
1.   How many leaves did you collect?
2.   Are there any ways they are similar?
3.   They all have different shapes, but are there other differences?
4.   Why do you think most leaves have sharp points?