By Leon Lai Navaretna –
From the 4th to 13th of February 2015, Dzaeman and I made a work visit to our site in Merisuli, Sabah. On the first day in Lahad Datu, we were scheduled to have our first student group visit from the University of Zurich, supervised by Dr. Chris Kettle who was running a field course for his students here in Sabah. The ecstatic students visited our site office where Dzaeman gave an informative presentation with a short Q & A after about our work and future goals in Sabah and our upcoming sites. The students found the presentation to be an eye opener and an interesting one into potential future research opportunities, careers and current issues.
For the next 3 days, along with our site supervisor, Wahid and assistant supervisor, Rasit, Dzaeman and I carried out a tree survey in the Ulu Segama Malua Forest Reserve to identify and record parent dipterocarps and seedling count for our seed collection to be carried out in the coming months.
We then visited our administration office in Sepilok and caught up with our administration team. While there, Dzaeman and the team had a quick time off and visited the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) where we had a nice time meeting and getting to know Mr. Wong’s efforts and work.
After a few days in Sepilok and back to Merisuli, our ground staff led by Dzaeman, carried out a one day, 8km long boundary survey and ground truthing of our project site and inspection of the construction of our new dirt road. We have observed that project site has been previously encroached by logging and oil palm trees and is now dominated by wild grass, ferns and other low concerned species. Although our site is noticeably degraded, we are glad to have the presence of some hornbills, Sambar deer, Bornean bearded pig and even a footprint which potentially belongs to a clouded leopard!
On the last day before flying back to Kuala Lumpur, we had the opportunity to meet Mr. Brandon Charleston, the Director for Raleigh International Sabah to discuss our future partnership with Raleigh International and our Merisuli site.