Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of The Natural Science Society Bintulu Sarawak will be held on the 6th January 2011 (Thursday) 4pm at 87 Park City Commerce Square, 97000 Bintulu. (Lawyer Lau's office David Allen Sagah Teng).

All members are cordially invited to attend.

Friday, November 12, 2010

CABEP Outreach by SMK Kidurong to SK Kidurong

SK Kidurong students : all keen to answer questions.
Over 800 students in the audience!

Andiana speaking on conserving electricity.

Andiana and Rini from SMK Kidurong Interact Club did a presentation on Conservation and Biodiversity to students of SK Kidurong this morning.

Over eight hundred students from primary 4, 5 and 6 were in the audience.

Andiana talked about Odonata, Work Intelligently & Save Electricity while Rini talked about Water Conservation.

The speakers did a wonderful presentation which was highly interactive, with prizes given for students who could answer the questions which they posed. Those who got to answer the questions received the “Go Green” reusable shopping bags.

The occasion was extra special for Rini as she graduated from SK Kidurong only 2 years ago and must have felt extremely proud to have the opportunity to come back to her old school to share her knowledge with the young students there.

Congratulations to Andiana, Rini and your team, to Cikgu Madeline for her effort and guidance & to the Principal, Teachers and students of SK Kidurong who hosted the event and gave us all such a warm welcome. We look forward to more good work together!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pictures at the CABEP Competition 2010

Endela, Lau and Riwhi are the judges.
Andiana and Nurul holding the fort.

SMK Bintulu winning presentation.

OC Billy Young welcoming speech.

SMK Bandar's presentation.

The SMK Bintulu Team with Teacher In Charge Anne Ting

Teachers in charge & Principal Representative of SMK Bandar
& CIMB representative Mr. Choo CH

CABEP 2010 Competition

The CABEP Competition was held on the 28th August 2010 from 2-4pm at the New World Suites in Bintulu.

Three schools participated in the event, namely SMK Bandar, Bintulu and Kidurong.

SMK Bandar did the first presentation with 4 students presenting, followed by SMK Bintulu and then SMK Kidurong on topics ranging from Water Conservation to the plight of Dolphins in present day. Andiana and Nurul bravely held the fort as their two team mates did not show up for the competition and did brilliantly. They presented a video interview of their teachers and fellow students and what their thoughts were on conservation. Unfortunately the audio did not work well on their otherwise very creative and excellent work.

Endela Tipot (Sarawak Forestry Corp), Riwhi Diamond (Sarawak Planted Forest) and Lau Song Ting (Lawyer) were the judges, each of whom posed a question to the students after the team presentation. The answers in response was mostly adequate, and some were even quite brilliant, demonstrating good understanding of the issues concerned by these young students.

SMK Bintulu emerged champion, taking the 1st prize money of RM600. They also won a framed wildlife photograph for their school, a selection of Natural History books and a 2 day 1 night trip to Bukit Minah Field Station.

SMK Bandar was first runner up with RM500 prize money and SMK Kidurong second runner up with RM400, framed wildlife photographs and natural history books.

The prize money is intended for use by the Interactors to do outreach project in their school and community to further promote awareness of conservation and biodiversity.

The 3 teams also each received a memento of a collection of photographs taken during their field trips to Samarakan.

We thank CIMB Foundation for their sponsorhip of the CABEP 2010 without which the program would not have been possible, and look forward to their continuing support in the years ahead, for which we pledge to do our best to put on a high quality program on conservation for our young students

We thank also all the speakers who have given us their time and the benefit of their knowledge and experience.

Our appreciation to Joanes Unggang and his staff at the Conservation Department of the Sarawak Planted Forest for their untiring effort, Riwhi Diamond, the Training Center Manager for hosting and taking good care of us during our field trips, Sarawak Forestry Corporation for their support in providing expert speakers, our organising chairman Billy Young from the Rotary Club of Bintulu who coordinated the activities with the schools and the education department, and all the students, teachers and principals who supported and took part in the program to make it a successful one.

We have enjoyed doing this program and have learnt much from it.

Thank you again everyone!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Conservation Awareness & Biodiversity Education Program (CABEP) Competition 2010

The above event will be held at the New World Suite on the 28th August 2010 from 1:30-4:30pm.

This is the final part of the Natural Science Society’s “Conservation Awareness & Biodiversity Education Program 2010” jointly organised with the conservation department of the Sarawak Planted Forest and the Rotary Club of Bintulu, funded by a grant from CIMB Foundation.

Over 50 students from SMK Bintulu, Bandar and Kidurong have participated in this program which involved field trips to the Samarakan Training Center and Forest, attending lectures on topics relevant to conservation. The students utilise the knowledge they have gathered to do outreach projects such as talking to primary school students to tell them about conservation and biodiversity. The students have also carried out various conservation projects such as promoting the use of reuseable bags etc

This competition will see the team from each school giving a 30 minute presentation on Conservation and Biodiversity.

Program Summary as follows:

1.00pm: Arrival of participating teams
1:30pm: Arrival of guests
2:00pm: Welcoming Address by Organising Chairman
2:05pm: Speech by Special Guest
2:15pm: Competition begins.
4.00pm: Prize & Mementoes Presentation
4.30pm : Afternoon Tea

All members are welcome to support this event.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cold Blood & Sharp Teeth: Crocodiles

Audience at the Crocodile Talk in UPM
Rob Stuebing talking on Crocodiles

Ann, Warden of Similajau National Park raising questions.

Cold Blood and Sharp Teeth: Crocodiles by Rob Stuebing

Question for Rob Stuebing, do bones ingested by crocs harm them?
The Deputy Dean of UPM (Bintulu) presenting a memento to Rob Stuebing

The Deputy Dean of UPM(Bintulu) presenting a memento to Ms Monica Kusneti

Group photo with students from SMK Bintulu

Group photo with UPM students and organisers

We were very happy to welcome Mr. Rob Stuebing back to Bintulu on the 14th August 2010 to give us another excellent talk on Crocodiles, as well as his team from REA Kaltim, Kiki (Ms. Monica Kusneti)and Deni.The talk was held at the UPM(Bintulu) new lecture theater Dewan Kuliah 2, and was well attended by students/Interactors from SMK Bintulu and SMK Bandar as well as UPM students.

The Interactors were treated to a pre-lecture briefing on Conservation in Plantations, as part of their participation in the Natural Science Society's Conservation and Biodiversity Awareness Program 2010.

Mr. Stuebing gave an excellent talk which was both informative and entertaining, steming from his intimate knowledge of crocodiles and from the many years that he has worked with them.

The audience was mesmerized by his presentation and there were quite a few rounds of laughter too.

Many questions were raised after the talk, ranging from the best time to spot crocodiles in their natural surroundings, how to identify their genders and the mechanics of how crocodiles leap out of water.

Ms Monica Kusneti, conservation manager at REA Kaltim also gave a short talk on Reptiles Conservation at Lake Mesangat, an area rich with reptiles, in particular the false gharial. Yayasan Ulin(look for it on Facebook) has been set up to help manage the conservation area.

We would like to thank Rob, Kiki and Deni for visiting us and giving us the benefit of their knowledge and experience, and UPM(Bintulu) for hosting the event and all those who worked to make the event run so smoothly. Thank you all!
We look forward to Part 2 of Cold Blood and Sharp Teeth: SNAKES!....... coming soon!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Natural Science Lecture

There will be a Natural Science Lecture on the 14th August 2010 from 8.00 to 10.00pm, at the University Putra Malaysia Bintulu Campus.

We have invited two international speakers for this event.

Mr. Rob Stuebing is a well known international expert in reptiles with many books and publications to his name and Ms. Monica Kusneti is the REA Conservation Manager in Kalimantan Timur.

Lecture Title 1: Cold Blood & Sharp Teeth: Crocodiles, Snakes & Other Good Friends.

Speaker: Mr. Rob Stuebing (Herpetologist)

Lecture Title 2: The Endangered Reptiles of Lake Mesangat

Speaker: Ms Monica Kusneti (REA Conservation Manager)

Admission to the lecture is free for members of the Natural Science Society.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

CABEP 2010 (PART 2)

SJK Chung Hua students listening to Conservation Talk
The presenting team from SMK Bandar

Headmistress of SK Baru with SMK Bintulu Interactors at the Conservation Talk.

The SMK Bintulu presenting team.

The second part of the CABEP is an outreach program whereby the Interactors who had taken part in the fieldtrips to Samarakan outreach to the community by giving presentations on conservation & biodiversity topics to younger students.

Interactors from SMK Bintulu and Bandar Bintulu conducted these outreach programs to primary school students at SK Baru and SJK Chung Hua (2) respectively on 21st and 29 June 2010.

SMK Bintulu had a team of 4 to do the presentation to a class of over 40 primary 6 students, covering topics on Water Conservation, Odonata, Plants and Animals.

A big thank you to Headmistress Puan Helen Chai for her strong support of this program.

SMK Bandar presented to 60 primary 6 students (15 selected from each of 4 classes), in Mandarin and English, on Water Conservation, Odonata and Plastics as well as showing some pretty pictures of what they had seen and photograph during their field trip to Samarakan earlier in the year. Reuseable bags were given away as prizes to students who could answer the questions after their talks.

Again a big thank you to the Principal and teachers of SJK Chung Hua for their support.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lord Cranbrook's Lecture

Lord Cranbrook visited us on the 5th May 2010 and gave a lecture at UPM to an audience of over 150 people on "Conservation Issues In Tree Crop Plantation".

Calvin of was present and wrote up a report @:

CABEP 2010 (3)

13 students and 4 teachers from SMK Kidurong, with 3 CIMB Shahida officers took part in the third CABEP at Samarakan on the 8-9th May 2010.

This group of students was the youngest of the 3 groups that has been through the program, with students from Form 2,3 and 5 and was again an all female team. They took to the program with great enthusiasm, asking many questions of the lecturers and were very energetic in the field.

After a short introduction on Conservation and Biodiversity, Mr. Benjamin Toh gave a very informative lecture on “Energy Conservation”, with many practical tips on how to reduce our electricity bill. Joanes gave an overview of the Sarawak Planted Forest project and “Plant Conservation”, Alex talked about what he does in “Animal Conservation”, Ollince on “Odonata”,Ann and Joslin from Sarawak Forestry Corporation(SFC) presented the flora and fauna that can be found at Similajau National Park and the role of the SFC. Mr. Tham again drove a long way from his base to Samarakan to talk about “Water Conservation In Agriculture & Forestry” on Sunday morning

The evening jungle walk was again a great success with sighting of a large owl at the beginning of the trip, a sleeping SpiderHunter and Kingfisher in the forest, some species of frogs, many different species of phasmids, spiders (one carrying a large egg case beneath it) and snails. We heard the flapping of birdwings from high in the jungle canopy and Alex apparently spotted a Slow Loris.

Unfazed by sun nor rain, a drizzling early Sunday morning did not deter these young girls from getting out of bed for birdwatching at 6.30am and they spotted egrets and kingfisher feeding at the lake with Jimmy and Joanes to guide them.

The rain stopped after breakfast and the students again had a great time catching dragonflies and damsel flies for identification under the guidance of our Odonata lady Ollince.

The students did a great presentation of what they have learnt from the program after lunch and awarded “Idols” status to Joanes and Alex and a “Sister” to Ollince, for their teaching and guidance in the program and for the wonderful work that they do as conservation officers. Some students expressed interest in taking up conservation work and forestry as their career in the future.

This brings to a close the first part of the CABEP 2010.

In the next part of the program, the students who have been to Samarakan will educate others about what they have learnt, with guidance of their teachers, Rotarians, members of the Natural Science Society and Sarawak Planted Forest Conservation Department.

Thanks again to everyone who made this program possible, organisers, sponsors, guest speakers, participants and the people who took care of us at Samarakan. We have learnt a great deal running this program and have enjoyed it too!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Natural Science Lecture 2010

Lecture Title:

Speaker: Datuk Seri Lord Cranbrook

Venue: Dewan Kuliah Pusat 2B (Central Lecture Hall 2B), UPMKB

Date: 05 May 2010

Time: 7.00 – 9.00pm.

Audience: Public, Researchers, Planters, Lecturers, Students

Free Admission

Jointly organised by:
The Natural Science Society Bintulu & University Putra Malaysia (Bintulu)

Speaker’s Biography:

Earl of Cranbrook MA PhD PBNS(K)

Datuk Seri Lord Cranbrook received his Bachelor of Arts (1956) and Master of Arts (1960) degrees at Cambridge, England. He has pursued a career as an environmental biologist, initially in South East Asia and subsequently in the UK and Europe. He is a specialist in the biology and management of the cave swiftlets, the "birds-nest soup birds" and the biology of living mammals and archaeozoology of the Malaysian region.

His first post-graduate appointment, 1956-58 was at the Sarawak Museum, Kuching (Borneo) where he was engaged generally in collection and curation duties and specifically in the archaeozoology and studies of cave swiftlets. After obtaining a Ph.D. at Birmingham University (1958-1960), he undertook further swiftlet studies in Indonesia (1960-61). He then joined the Zoology Department, University of Malaya, Malaysia (1961-70).

In 1970 the Earl of Cranbrook returned to his family home in Suffolk, England and became both involved in the management of the family farm and active in local, national and international public and voluntary service, and in the private sector. In 1978 he took the family title and seat in the House of Lords until 1999 when hereditary rights were abolished by the Act of 1999.

He has been author (or co-author) and editor of books on the mammals, the birds, the tropical rainforest, and wonders of the natural world of the South-East Asian region, and of many scientific papers on these and related topics including Mammals of South-East Asia (1988), Wonders of Nature in South-East Asia (1997) as editor, and Swiftlets of Borneo: builders of edible nests (2002).

Lord Cranbrook is a frequent visitor to Sarawak and the region. His current activity is external adviser to Yayasan Ulin, a new (2009) charitable foundation for the promotion of conservation in unprotected habitat in Kalimantan, which has been founded by the oil palm plantation company, REA Kaltim.

Lecture Abstract


Earl of Cranbrook MA PhD PBNS(K)

There are many definitions of “Sustainable Development”, but all emphasise a synthesis of economic, environmental and social objectives, sometimes referred to as a “3-legged stool” . Nature conservation places stress on one leg, i.e., environmental objectives, but should not ignore the others. Indeed, in the opinion of many people, nature is worth conserving because it has intrinsic economic and social values. To arouse support and be successful, conservationists must convince others that their recommendations are grounded in sound science and, moreover, that their programmes are also beneficial in social and economic areas of activity. Above all, society as a whole needs to be persuaded that natural biodiversity is too important to be discarded in favour of short-term objectives.

The scope of this talk is limited to the island of Borneo, 762,685 sq km in area. This is the third largest island in the world and is also the largest of the Greater Sunda Islands that, with the Thai peninsula, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore, constitute the Indo-Malayan zoogeographical subregion. Among extant mammal and bird faunas of the subregion, the large number of shared species with an evident common derivation from continental Southeast Asian precursors has long been recognized as the consequence of land connections during the Pleistocene . The majority of naturally occurring species of the mammals, including bats, and the birds of Borneo are associated with forest habitats; many have not been found outside closed tropical rainforest .
Land development involving the clearance of forest has therefore had serious consequences. The loss of biodiversity has aroused concern, not only among conservation NGOs but also among rural communities who have seen a dramatic diminution in the natural products, plant and animal, for which their traditional way of life found many important uses. The growth in oil palm plantations has been criticised, in particular, for the effects on orang-utan populations. These impacts cannot be denied, and the industry itself is working towards a form of certification for “sustainable” palm oil production that will assure customers that appropriate measures have been taken to protect “high conservation value” (HCV) habitats and “rare, threatened or endangered” (RTE) species, including orang-utan. It is sometimes claimed that measures to safeguard HCV habitat and RTE species will also, without additional input, serve to enhance the conservation of other biota. The truth of this assertion is a matter of scientific test, but it is not self-evidently safe to assume that it is correct.

In this talk, the scientific and conservation importance of Borneo mammals (including orang-utans) and birds is outlined. The variety of organisations that may be responsible for their conservation is reviewed, and suggestions are made of action that could be undertaken by a dedicated conservation team and by individuals. But the ultimate message is stark. Biodiversity loss is intimately associated with most other present trends that threaten to become a global, civilization-destroying crisis. In the long term, if society insists that it must drive down biodiversity to maintain the human species, then the future of the human species is not sustainable.

Article printed from The Borneo Post Online:

Looking back with the Earl of Cranbrook

Posted By rajlira On 16th December 2007

THE name Gathorne Hardy might not ring a bell for many, but in the world of animal science, the fifth Earl of Cranbrook (yes, he is an Earl) is an iconic figure and his name is as familiar to those in this field as David Beckham is in football.
Remarkably the 74 year-old zoologist began his career in Sarawak when in 1956 he worked in the Sarawak Museum under the supervision of Tom Harrison the curator then, for two years.
At that time he bore the title Lord Medway and for two years he was involved in extensive research and studies for the museum before going back to England to further his studies.
After getting his degree in Cambridge, Hardy obtained his PhD at Birmingham University through his research on the cave swiftlets at Niah caves in 1960.
He was made the fifth Earl of Cranbrook after his fathers’ death in 1978 and aside from his continuing scientific research and studies he was also active in politics.
Hardy is a regular visitor to Sarawak and I was privileged to meet him at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) last year. He came back again recently and I took the chance to interview him on his experience and career for thesundaypost.

Q: What was your job when you first started out in the Sarawak Museum in 1956?
A: I did everything… (laughed), I was the only zoologist here back then. I sorted all the birds coming in to the Museum from collectors all over the State.
At that time Bill Smythies was writing the checklist of birds of Borneo and collections of birds were coming in, funded by the keen amateur ornithologist, Dato Loke Wan Tho.
Tom Harrisson had arranged for people in the Ulu to collect birds and skin them. These collectors had basic training in the Museum; then they went back to their villages to collect the birds and send them to the Museum. And I used to sort all those bird skins. At that time I was also studying the swiftlets .
In 1957, I was asked to examine and identify animal bones collected from all the Sarawak Museum excavations.

Q: Why did you go back to England in 1958?
A: I went back to England to do my PhD but my research was on swiftlets of Niah Cave, so I came back again to Sarawak for fieldwork here.
Then, in 1960, I went to Indonesia under post doctrate fellowship for a short while, before getting an appointment in Universiti Malaya (UM). I was with UM until 1970.
All that time when my schedule allowed, I was looking at bones from Sarawak Museum.
Much later, in 2000, Cambridge University Professor Graeme Barker received a big grant to reinvestigate the Niah caves. I just sort of hung around, met them and talked to them and got involved again in archaeozoology….. looking at bones again.
And it had been great fun to work with the next generation. But I want to work with the next generation in Sarawak, not only with foreign colleagues.

Q: How were you involved in politics?
A: When my father died, as a hereditary peer I became a member of the UK parliament. At the same time, I held various appointments in public service, including the chairman of English Nature (1990-98) which is the government nature conservation organization for England.
In 1996, I was asked to head an entirely new organization called “the Regulator of Environmental Bodies under the Land Fill Tax Regulations”.
In 1996, UK government introduced a land fill tax, intended to be a “green” tax. Waste disposal companies, which had to pay the tax by weight on the waste they were treating, were able to avoid a proportion of their tax liability if that money was applied to environmental projects. This process required regulation and I was asked to set up a national regulator. It was very testing work, but satisfying. In the six years that I was there, we saw half a billion pounds sterling applied to environmental projects through the scheme, and that was great.

Q: How often do you visit Sarawak?
A: Yearly…sometimes twice a year. This time I was first at a conference in Bangkok on edible bird’s nests, and then I went with friends to Java Timur for a vacation before going to Peninsular Malaysia where there is a lady in Perhilitan who has a very good collection of shrews. I did some work with her on the shrews before coming here.

Q: Which part of Sarawak have you been to?
A: I have been to many parts of Sarawak but, during the time I worked here, I went to Sadong area, Niah, Bekenu, Tinjar and all over the place.

Q: Why do you come back to Sarawak so frequently?
A: I always enjoy coming to Sarawak and I have a diversity of activities here. This time I believe I’m becoming a three-day professor at UNIMAS to teach a short course on the recognition of animal bones in archaeology.
Last year I came and gave a lecture to the students and suggested that there was a huge resource at the Sarawak Museum which was underused and students could find a lot of studies or projects if they were to look at the archaeological remains at the Museum.
So, they asked me this time to give a course on bone recognition in archaeology and I am happy to do that. In the end, I hope there will be somebody here following my footsteps.

Q: You speak Bahasa Malaysia, how did you learn the language?
A: “Jadi masa dulu masa tahun lima puluh enam kalau kita tak cakap Bahasa Melayu memang tidak laku” (if we did not speak Bahasa Malaysia we could not do anything) because nobody spoke English those days.
So we had to learn the language. I had two teachers to start off with and I took the book “Teach yourself Malay” on the boat in 1956.
So when I arrived, I could say “saya baru datang” (I just arrived) and things like that. It was good. I learnt standard Malay but I could speak Sarawak Malay if I try.

Q: Was it a difficult language to learn?
A: It’s not a difficult language to learn. It’s a simpler language than Chinese, which is much harder. I tried once. I learnt 48 characters and I was always looking around but I could never see my 48 friends… and the simplest Chinese needs about 3000 characters.

Q: Do you speak any other local languages?
A: I learnt Iban by listening to it. It is quite funny, because when I tried to read, I found myself like somebody who could not really read, I had to read out loud. But I have forgotten most of my Iban now.

Q: What are the incidents that stand out from your memories of your first stint in Sarawak?
A: I took the Blue Funnel cargo ship from Liverpool, I arrived at Singapore then changed into another boat to reach Kuching.
The boat had to ram into the bank upstream of the Astana and waited for the tide to turn it around before it docked into Brooke dockyard. That boat was called Rajah Brooke.
Then when I first went to Niah, we sailed in a boat from Pending up to the mouth of Niah or Kuala Niah. The sea was rough and there was a small boat bobbing up and down and we had to choose the right moment to jump from the big boat into the small boat which took us up river to Niah and that was how we got to Niah those days.
And once, when we had been asked by Tom Harrisson to make a careful excavation of a full skeleton from Niah, we had to go from Niah town in a Chinese boat to get to Miri.
The Museum team was sitting at the deck with others out at sea.
The wind began to blow and we were getting nowhere because the waves were so strong the boat could not make headway.
Then our fellow passengers started asking “what’s in the box?” I guess if we had told them, both we and the box might have been thrown over board.

Q: How much has Sarawak changed since the 1950s?
A: Sarawak has changed so much. There’s always something new and it gets much, much easier to do things. Much easier to travel and go to exciting places like Mulu and Niah.
In the 1950’s it took me 28 days to reach Singapore from Liverpool and now it’s just 12 hours from Heathrow. And the food is also much better. A lot of choices, back then, it was rice and salted fish when we were on field trips.

Q: I understand that you have been visiting the Sarawak Musuem in the last few days, what do you think about the collections at present?
A: The collections have surprisingly changed very little since I was here. People come up to me saying “this box is just like you left it”. I think the Sarawak Museum collections at present are very historic and some are very old.
Some of these old records are quite indispensable and perhaps it would be very useful if there were some discussion about what the natural history collections are for and how this important material could benefit the public — for research, conservation and historic records. I hope this short course will invigorate research in collaboration between UNIMAS and the Museum.

Q: What are the standard methods of recording museum collections?
A: I was in Kuala Lumpur last week, taking part in a big consultative workshop, well attended, on the subject of a National Natural History Museum for Malaysia.
The idea, as I understand it, is that this museum would not be a centralised museum. It would be a repository where collections can be placed but at the same time it will be linked electronically to all other existing Natural History collections in Malaysia.
And it will bring uniform standards of registration and cataloguing. I hope Sarawak Museum will have a part in that, which would be exciting.

Q: What do you think about the conservation efforts taking place here?
A: In 1988, I was asked by the Chief Minister to head up something called the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) mission. I was the chairman, and that was very challenging.
We saw what forest policies were then and we advised on harvesting rates and other matters. Of course things have changed tremendously. One recommendation was 10 per cent of the State to become Totally Protected Areas .
I don’t think that target has yet been realised. But I think Sarawak Forestry is working steadily towards it. It is very good to come back here and hear that there are new areas gazetted for conservation. I understand that two areas of limestone and the Bongoh Hills are about to be gazetted as new national parks.
The ITTO mission suggested 10 per cent which is actually a big target. Brunei had already got there, a long time ago, but there will be many countries which will not have 10 per cent of their land area designated for nature conservation.

Q: How do you think UNIMAS is doing in terms of environmental education?
A: UNIMAS is doing a lot of research and there are some keen researchers out there applying a lot of new methods in their studies.
So I might sound a bit old fashioned because identifying bones is rather an unfashionable study. But there is a lot to be learnt from looking at archaeological bones.
It’s just one field of study and I am not suggesting UNIMAS be deeply involved but I do hope some of their students will come along, be enthused and realise what a tremendous resource there is in the Museum.
Because the Sarawak Museum has a huge archaeozoological collection and some collections have yet to be studied in detail. Some which I had looked at in 1959 are still in boxes, waiting.

Q: How many publications do you have?
A: A lot of publications. First book was the “Checklist of Mammals of Borneo”. Together with my colleague David Wells, I wrote “Birds of the Malay Peninsula, vol 5″, I also wrote “Mammals of Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) and Singapore”, and together with David Edwards, published a book about the Belalong rainforest in Brunei.
I was asked by Oxford to compile an anthology called “Wonders of the Natural World in South East Asia” and together with Dr Lim Chan Khoon from SFC wrote the “Swiftlets of Borneo: Builders of Edible Nests”, published by Natural History Publications (Borneo) and still in print. There are also some other books and many scientific papers.

Q: What are your future plans?
A: My books have been on Borneo topics, rather than specifically about Sarawak. But I am hoping now that I’m here, together with a colleague Rambli Ahmad, who was the man who wrote “Looking at Loagan Bunut”, to put together something about Alfred Wallace in Sarawak, we which we hope will be ready next year.
So, that’s what we are working on now and so far we have about 140 pages.

Article printed from The Borneo Post Online:
URL to article:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Conservation Awareness & Biodiversity Program

The second event in CABEP took place on the 10-11 April 2010, with 14 all female participants from the Interact Club of SMK Bandar with their 2 teachers in charge, Miss Joyce and Miss Wong, as well as 2 representatives from the CIMB Shahida Bintulu Mr. Suaidi and Mr. Lu.

The team started out at 8.15am reaching the Samarakan Training Center in mid morning.
After checking into the hostel and a quick morning tea, the lecture program began in the Kakus Classroom with self introduction and welcome.

The lectures covered Conservation Program at the Sarawak Planted Forests, Conservation of Wildlife and Plants, Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies), Water Conservation in Agriculture as well as Global Trends in Environmental Management.

There was a short bout of rain in the afternoon but the evening frogging event went ahead after dinner, with the night walk in the forest which took about 2 and a half hours. Many species of stick insects were found, some frogs, lizards and even a sleeping Pita (bird).

Early the next morning was bird watching time, with Belden leading the team. We saw the Black Hornbill, Egrets, Chinese Pond Heron. Stork Bill Kingfisher, Sandpiper, Starlings, Swallows etc

After breakfast was time to look for Dragonflies and Damselflies with Ollince, who told us many things about these fascinating invertebrate. She even managed to catch a female dragonfly in the process of laying eggs.

After morning tea, Mr. Tham CK, a forester and planter with many years of experience in the field, gave us the benefit of his knowledge on Water Conservation In Agricultural Practice. Then it was time for the students to work out their presentations on what they have learnt.

Five groups of 3 students each gave their presentations after lunch. Overall most participants had earned some new experience from the program although not everyone enjoyed every aspect of the reality of conservation work in our tropical environment.
They were encouraged to ask more questions and to take active parts in educating the community about conservation and sustainable lifestyle issues.
The group returned to Bintulu by bus amidst patches of downpour along the way. The whole group had disperse each to their own home before 5pm.

Another great job done.

My thanks again to Joannes Unggang, for much of this program is his effort, the OC Billy Young for managing the event, liasing with the schools and education department, to all the lecturers who shared their knowledge with us and made such excellent work of it all, the students, teachers and bank officers who participated, the Sarawak Planted Forest for their support and their taking care of us at Samarakan, and to CIMB for giving us the grant to make this program possible.

We hope that we have done some good.

Monday, April 12, 2010

CABEP 2010 Second Group to Samarakan

Here are some photos taken during the second group during CABEP 2010 at Sarawak Planted Forest Training Center in Samarakan.

Congrats to all personals involved in the successful event.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Conservation Awareness & Biodiversity Education Program

The pilot episode of the above program, funded by CIMB Foundation was carried out with a visit to the Sarawak Planted Forest Training Center at Samarakan on the 20-21 Feb 2010.

11 students with 2 teachers from the SMK Bintulu Interact Club went on the trip, with 2 representatives from the CIMB Bank in Bintulu, as well as officers from the Sarawak Forestry Corporation, Sarawak Planted Forest Conservation Department, The Natural Science Society Bintulu and the Rotray Club of Bintulu, 25 heads in all.

It rained heavily on the morning we started off, after 9 rainless days in Bintulu. On the way to Samarakan, 2 hornbills were spotted. After settling in quickly at the hostels, the lecture program began.

We started off with an introduction to the concepts of conservation and biodiversity, and the role each of us must play to achieve sustainability. The talks then went on to cover conservation of animals, plants, water and the role of the Sarawak Forestry Corporation in Conservation in Sarawak.

Luckily, the rain stopped in the afternoon as all were looking forward to night trekking in the jungle after a full day of classroom work. It was the first time for the students to go into a jungle at night, or even into a jungle for some, so there were many anxieties for these young souls……….leeches, wild animals, insects…………..insect repellents, long thick socks, long sleeves, hats, torches………It took quite some preparation before we were ready to head into the jungle at last.

Joanes and Ollince from the Sarawak Planted Forest took the lead, the students and teachers were in the middle, while Alex and the Forestry Officers took up the rear. The track proved to be easy walking and everyone settled in to look for frogs, stick insects, snails etc We were lucky enough to see a Pita perched on a branch asleep, with frogs (polypedates sp) posing for long minutes on tree braches for photographs to be taken, stick insects, snails, spiders, geckos etc. The trek took about 2 hours and by then everyone was ready for bed at the end of a long day as the next day calls for an early start for birdwatching.

At 7am, binoculars were distributed and the students walked around a large lake at the training center to observe birds and to try to identify them from field guides. Egrets, Kingfishers, herons, swallows, cuckoos were spotted. After breakfast, the task at hand was to learn about Odonata ie dragonflies and damselflies. The students soon took to the task when they managed to catch specimens with their hands and realised how many different species they were as they learnt to tell dragonflies from damselflies, the males from the females, and even managed to catch a couple of damselflies in wheel!

The rest of the morning before lunch was time for the students to think about what they have learnt and make preparations for their presentations on their thoughts on Conservation & Biodiversity. The 11 students were divided into 3 groups and each had different things to say regarding their experience and adventure of the weekend.

We hope that through this program, we have brought some of the wonders of nature to the attention of the young students in Bintulu, and to have piqued your curiosity enough for you to want to learn more.

My appreciation goes to Joanes Unggang and his conservation team for the time and effort they put into the program, to the Sarawak Forestry Corporation for their support, to the Education Department and Principal of SMK Bintulu for their help & permission, to Miss Anne Ting, the teacher-in-charge of SMK Bintulu Interact Club for her enthusiasm and effort in arranging for this trip, to Mr. Riwhi and the Sarawak Planted Forest Training Center Staff for hosting our stay and for sharing your forest with us, Mr. Mani for taking care of our accommodation and food, to the teachers and students for participating in this pilot project and to CIMB Foundation for sponsoring the program.

Thank you all for sharing you time and expertise with us.

We hope you have all enjoyed the program as much as we have.

Well done Organising Chairman Mr. Billy Young. When will be the next trip?

If you would like to join the Natural Science Society, please write to us at If you are under 18, you can get your parents to join us as family members so that you can participate in the society’s activities.