Mother Elephant Rescues Calf From Drowning in Borneo River

Intelligent and caring. Watch this video of how a mother elephant helps her calf climb on slippery river bank and rescues it from drowning. Both the mother and calf were earlier crossing the river when the younger one run into difficulties upon reaching the river bank. According to a report by Daily Mail, the touching incident was recorded in Sabah’s Danau Girang Field Centre, located in the lower Kinabatangan in the east coast of Sabah.

The report says two other adult elephants came to help rescue the baby which finally managed to get on its way again half an hour later.

A word of caution: in case you encounter a similar situation in Sabah, or anywhere else for that matter, and are tempted to offer help — don’t! You might endanger yourself and the very animal you want to save.

Borneo Catepillar

A Borneo caterpillar that looks like it is part of the shrubs it is crawling on, is the latest creature to be featured in National Geographic’s “Photo of the Day”. The photograph of the lichen-colored caterpillar was taken in Sarawak, Borneo.

Slow-moving and vulnerable to attacks, camouflaging itself to match its surroundings is the most effective means of defence against predators.

Natives Given Digital Cameras to Shoot “The Heart of Borneo”

A group of native people in Indonesia’s Kalimantan were recently taught photography and provided with digital cameras to shoot their everyday life in the vast Heart of Borneo, through their own eyes. The result is pretty astounding, both the still photographs and video.

The project is facilitated by WWF. More here:

Borneo: Through a local lens.

American Biologist in Borneo to Find Endemic Jumping Spiders

American biologist, Wayne Maddison, is currently in Borneo for a three-week’s expedition to find jumping spiders. “My reason to come to Borneo is to find jumping spiders that live nowhere else,” he said in a Scientific American blog entry.

He has now written seven entries, chronicling his search for Borneo spiders in a blog series titled “Spiders in Borneo”.

Jumping spider... Borneoblogpic

Scientists To Tag Borneo’s Loris “Capirossi”

Sorry about the title, I couldn’t resist it. But if the Italian motor racing star Loris Capirossi ever slows down in his career, he might very well acquire the tag “slow loris.”

Back to the issue of slow loris, when was the last time you saw the animal, or known as kongkang in Malay or tondoyutung in Momogun? Like I’ve not see this cute little animal for decades and almost forgotten that it existed if not for a recent news saying scientists was tagging a Bornean slow loris for the first time.

The move was part of efforts by the Sabah wildlife department to study the primate’s behaviour. What did they say? Primate? I never thought for once that slow lorises are categorised as primate.

Benoit Goossens, director of the Danau Girang Field Centre that is spearheading the study, said in a statement that through the study they hoped to raise the awareness in Sabah on the importance of protecting nocturnal primates as much as protecting orangutans, proboscis monkeys, sun bears and elephants.

“Lost” Toad Species Reappears In Borneo After 87 Years

A toad species scientists feared had extinct, reappeared in the jungle of Sarawak, the Malaysian state on Borneo Island recently. Listed as the Top 10 most wanted lost toad, the Sambas Stream Toad was last seen in Europe 1924, according to Conservation International (CI).

The toad, Ansonia latidisca, was previously known from only three individuals, and was last seen in 1924, CI said.

Rainbow toad... Photo released by Conservation International which recently discovered the elusive amphibian. Photo credit: Prof Indraneil Das

“Prior to the rediscovery, only illustrations of the mysterious and long-legged toad existed, after collection by European explorers in the 1920s,” CI said in a press release, announcing the discovery.

A picture of the Sambas Stream Toad, released by Conservation International which recently discovered the elusive amphibian. Photo credit: Prof Indraneil Das

Excerpt from CI press release:

Dr. Indraneil Das of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) was one of those inspired researchers. After announcing his new discovery of a tiny pea-sized frog in Borneo last summer, the Old World’s smallest, Das and his team targeted the missing Sambas Stream Toad species for rediscovery last August.

Initial searches by Dr. Das and team took place during evenings after dark along the 1,329 m. high rugged ridges of the Gunung Penrissen range of Western Sarawak, a natural boundary between Malaysia’s Sarawak State and Indonesia’s Kalimantan Barat Province. The team’s first expeditions proved fruitless in their first several months, but the team did not give up. The area had barely been explored in the past century, with no concerted efforts to determine whether the species was still alive. So Das changed his team’s strategy to include higher elevations and they resumed the search.

And then one night, Mr. Pui Yong Min, one of Dr Das’s graduate students found a small toad 2m up a tree. When he realized it was the long-lost toad, Dr. Das expressed relief and near disbelief at the discovery before his eyes.

“Thrilling discoveries like this beautiful toad, and the critical importance of amphibians to healthy ecosystems, are what fuel us to keep searching for lost species,” said Dr. Das. “They remind us that nature still holds precious secrets that we are still uncovering, which is why targeted protection and conservation is so important. Amphibians are indicators of environmental health, with direct implications for human health. Their benefits to people should not be underestimated.”

Borneo Beetle Among Four New Jewel Beetle Species Discovered

A jewel beetle collected from a local residing in Crocker Range, Sabah, is among four new species of jewel beetles found in Southeast Asia, according to a recent report.

NEW JEWEL BEETLE SPECIES ... P. chalcogenioides, found in Crocker Range, Sabah

The jewel beetle was found by a local collector in the vicinity of Mt Trus Madi, according to the report, published in ZooKeys.

The other three species of jewel beetles — so called because of their glossy iridescent colours — were found in Thailand and Indonesia’s Sumatra and Lombok.

If you are game for scientific description of the species, here is the report, in PDF. The pictures of the four species are also shown in the report. Here is a question worth pondering: how many more species of Borneo flora and fauna which are yet to be discovered?

“Spongebob” Squarepantsii Lives In Borneo Rainforest!

A newly-discovered species of mushroom, known as Spongiforma squarepantsii, has been found in the forests of Borneo, a report said.

Shaped like a sea sponge, S. squarepantsii was found in 2010 in the Lambir Hills in the Malaysian state of Sarawak in Borneo.

Spongebob Squarepants (left), Spongiforma squarepantsii (right). Credit: Tom Bruns, U.C. Berkeley (for the S. squarepantsii picture)

It is bright orange—although it can turn purple when sprinkled with a strong chemical base—and smells “vaguely fruity or strongly musty,” according to San Francisco State University researcher Dennis Desjardin and colleagues’ description published in the journal Mycologia.

“Under a scanning electron microscope, the spore-producing area of the fungus looks like a seafloor carpeted in tube sponges, which further convinced the researchers to name their find after the famous Bob,” according to a statement.

Proboscis Monkey Eats Its Meal Twice?

The proboscis monkey, found only in Borneo, has recently been found to have a peculiar eating habit unlike other primate species — they eat their meal twice.

How? By regurgitating and chewing the cud, just like cattle. Haha! I should try that with the lamb chop, or the chicken curry or something.

According to a report by Live Science, investigators discovered the peculiarity while studying a group of 200 200 proboscis monkeys along a tributary of the Kinabatangan River in Sabah, the Malaysian state on Borneo Island.

Further reading at Biology Letters.

Newly Discovered Sundaland Clouded Leopard Found In Sabah

A species of Sundaland clouded leopard, believed to have been separated from its mainland Asia’s cousin since the Ice Age, has been found in Sabah, the Malaysian state on Borneo Island.

The discovery confirmed long-held believe that the Borneo’s clouded leopard, film in Deramakot Forest Reserve in Sabah, is a species of its own, distinct in genetic constitution from its Indonesian relative found in Sumatra, reports AFP.

A report by Andreas Wilting from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and researchers from the Sabah wildlife and forestry departments now suggests that the two subspecies be managed differently.

“We suspected the leopards on Borneo and Sumatra have likely been geographically separated since the last Ice Age, and we now know the long isolation has resulted in a split into separate subspecies,” he was quoted in the report by AFP.