Hi everybody !
First, allow me to wish you a very nice end of 2017 and all the best for the year to come… success, love, anything that will make you happy ! On my side, 2017 ended with lots of optimism and a splendid Asian trip devoted mostly to lectures in Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.
In the campus of the Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) in Perlis state, giving a lecture about the Photozoo project and my work with National Geographic, with the partnership of Nikon Malaysia.
During most of November, I lectured around universities and zoos in Malaysia (I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my friends who helped making this tour possible, you know who you are). I was privileged to give a talk at the Nottingham University campus of Kuala Lumpur about Education in zoos and introduced the Photozoo project to the students of UUM, amongst others. I was also lucky to be able to give talks in the two most prominent zoos in Mainland Malaysia, namely Zoo Negara and Zoo Taiping.
Of course, while in Asia, I spent time visiting animal collections and taking pictures of species that would be new additions to Photozoo ! My biggest number of new species came from the ever amazing S.E.A. Aquarium of Singapore. In a single day of shooting, after already visiting the facility more than 5 times in two years, I was able to gather more than 20 new taxa for the project, including an amazing eagle ray species.
The spectacular Ornate eagle ray (Aetomylaeus vespertilio), probably a world’s first display at the S.E.A. Aquarium of Singapore.
Having time off between Philippines and Mainland Malaysia, I decided to go spend 4 days in Sabah, around Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan to search for wild endemics. While the quest for Bornean bristlehead and Whitehead’s trogon has still not been a success (this is already my second attempt to see both species), I was blessed to see another prized Bornean endemic during the morning spent hiking around Mount Kinabalu Park.
This Bornean green magpie (Cissa jefferyi) was gathering nesting material near the trail and gave me stunning views. This species was my last missing taxa from the Cissa genus.
Around Sandakan, I decided to check out the proboscis monkeys sanctuary of Labuk Bay. There, two wild colonies of monkeys have been habituated to human presence and are fed daily on platforms that are easily viewed from a sheltered area. Unfortunately, the area around the sanctuary are totally cleared and covered with plantations of palm trees for the palm oil industry.
The dominant male proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) in Labuk Bay sanctuary. He is giving a threat display to a nearby group of Crab-eating macaques.
While in Sandakan, I decided to spend a few minutes visiting the Sandakan Crocodile Farm despite the fact that it didn’t have good reviews on social networks. Whereas the quality of exhibits is far from optimal, I was very surprised to see a number of very rare species on display such as the Strickland’s shama and the Bornean thick-spined porcupine. That shows you that even the small parks with a so-so reputation can yield interesting species… at least, for those of you who, like me, are on the hunt for new species under human care, every single little collection is worth checking out, especially in Asia !
Another spectacular rarity from Sandakan Crocodile Farm, the Sabah partridge (Arborophila graydoni) !
More new collections, new countries and presentations are being currently scheduled for next year so stay tuned ! In the meantime, I wish you the best and thank all of you for stopping by and for your support !
Pierre de Chabannes
Founder, Photozoo project
Pierre giving a talk about the National Geographic Photo Ark at the SEAZA conference in Manila. Thanks to Alex for the picture !