Bandar Seri Begawan - A Trip was recently organised by the 1stopBrunei Wildlife Club led by its President, Muhammad Shavez, and Vice President, Jenson Wong, to an island in the Brunei Bay.
Twenty-two people comprising members as well as non-members of the club participated in the trip. The Berambang area has a low protection level and can be developed for housing development in the future. Like the previous trip conducted by the club, a survey was undertaken to observe the flora and fauna as well as the eco-tourism potential.
During the trip, visual communication was undertaken, carefully paying attention to the surrounding details. One needed to have a sharp sense of sight and hearing to look for any slightest hint of any species movement.
The objective was to record any unknown plant and animal species by taking a photo for further identification. A database will be made on the findings and shall be published for the general public once the club has compiled all the survey findings. A documentary and mini episodes of each trip organised will be made and the Brunei Bay mini episode will be available soon on the club's social media.
The participants took a three-hour boat ride to the bay into the Pudak Rhizophora Mangroves.
The ever-amazing proboscis monkeys, also known in Malay as the `Bangkatan', were seen having an evening snack in the dense mangrove trees, their favourite being the 'Bakal' tree. The island in Brunei Bay has diverse bird species which will thrill birdwatchers. Two species of Kingfisher were spotted. Other identified species were the Storks Bill, Blue Kingfisher, Sea Eagle, little ringed Plover and the Chinese Egrets. The Egrets, migratory birds which have become permanent residents in the Sultanate, were frequently sighted at Menunggol Laut. A rare woodpecker with a red bush on its head was spotted as well and more research will be undertaken for identification.
Two important discoveries were made pertaining to reptiles. In one of the mangrove creeks, the wildlife club spotted two Mangrove Cat Snakes. One of them jumped from the canopy into the water barely missing the boat. It was a spectacular moment yet nerve-wrecking as we were caught by surprise. A lizard was spotted resting on one of the tree branches camouflaging itself This was no ordinary lizard as it somewhat resembleda crocodile of which the local boatmen echoed the same opinion. We believed the sighted species is endemic to Borneo and one of the rarest lizards around, the Earless Monitor Lizard.
Various species of arachnid and insects were found. Mudlobster mounds made by crabs were also seen at the creeks at the mouth of Menunggol Laut. Here, we could see the invasive Nypa plant taking over. A night trip will be made soon to find out more on the nocturnal animals in the bay. During the trip, floating rubbish was collected to keep the pristine mangroves clean.
Brunei Darussalam is blessed with mangrove forests which are the last few remaining in the world. Besides the high biodiversity in mangroves, it serves as a carbon sink curbing global warming and serves as a buffer against storms and floods. Next week the lstopBrunei Wildlife Club will be heading to observe the proboscis monkeys and their lifestyle in the `Bengkurong' mangroves. The club occasionally provides public service by bringing interested public on a visit to pristine areas.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin