Hi everybody !
Now that 2018 is already well underway, it’s time for me to let you know more about the very intensive travel schedule that awaits me for this year (knowing that it is likely to get even busier). As most of you know, when I am off to travelling somewhere, it is more and more to work for pre-production and production of shootings for the National Geographic Photo Ark project for Joel Sartore. I do also travel exclusively for Pierre Wildlife but this has become a rarer occurrence these days, with my work schedule for National Geographic getting busier.
Last year (and in 2016 as well), I was lucky to go twice to Asia. First, from early may to july, a very long scouting trip taking me through Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines, Java and Bali and then a lecture trip (see previous updates) at the end of the year, covering Philippines and Mainland Malaysia. Going to South East Asia is a true blessing and this year, I am very excited to say that I have already three trips organised and confirmed to South East Asia and a fourth trip on the way to approval !
Giving a talk in front of volunteers, educators and curators at
Zoo Negara Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), last november.
This year’s first Asian trip will occur at the end of March and early April. This time, it isn’t a pure National Geographic assignment trip (although I will talk about the Photo Ark project in different places) but it has been made possible thanks to the generosity of MAZPA (The Malayan Zoo Association) and my good friends at Zoo Negara Malaysia. I am honored to be one of the keynote speakers at a MAZPA-organised event about education in zoos, called AMAZED (All MAlayan Zoo EDucators). Hats off to everybody at MAZPA for organising such an interesting event and allowing me to be part of it.
While going to Asia, I will make a one day stop in Dubai to visit some zoological collections there (on the way in and way back), hoping to see some of the Arabian Peninsula endemics ! This trip is also the occasion for me to discover a new South-east Asian country: Myanmar ! The fauna there is very rich and not always well known. There are very few information about the zoos and rescue centers in this country so visiting the main collections there (and hopefully some wildlife rehabilitation centers) is very exciting !
Late april to early June, I am going back to South-east Asia, first with my fiancée (touring around Cambodia, Sabah, MAinland Malaysia and Singapore), then as an assistant and trip-producer for Joel Sartore for more than two weeks in the Philippines. Another Photo Ark shooting trip is already planned for Indonesia later this year. I will have more information about this soon but the species we are going to photograph there are very exciting !
The endangered and very poorly known Siau Island Tarsier (Tarsius tumpara), kept at Ragunan Zoo in Jakarta (Indonesia), will be a major target for us this summer.
In terms of animal species, all these trips are likely to be very exciting, even concerning the places I have been to a few times like Singapore, Mainland Malaysia and Sabah. In Singapore, I am looking forward to spending time at the Wildlife Reserves and at the fabulous SEA Aquarium to see what new rarities the team working there will have found. Last time (November), I was greeted with 25 new species, knowing that I already visited three times in June and July the same year.
The rare Rhomboid wrasse (Cirrhilabrus rhomboidalis), recently described and
endemic to a small Atoll in the Marshall Islands. This was one of the new exciting
species displayed at the SEA Aquarium in November !
Of course, I am also looking to get new shooting opportunities for species that I have on picture already but are so rare or so unique that new occasions are always important. Amongst them are the Critically Endangered Helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil) kept at Penang Bird Park (Malaysia) or the Tamaraw (Bubalus mindorensis) on Mindoro island (Philippines).
The splendid adult female Helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil) from Penang Bird Park, taken during the Photo ark shooting tour in Malaysia, back in 2016.
I am looking forward to seeing her again this year !
Seeing and photographing wild animals is something I enjoy more and more doing despite having usually very little time and finding this hobby quite frustrating when your targets are a no-show (Bornean bristlehead, missed twice already). I am still motivated and will try my best to see and take decent photographs of as many wild animals as I can around South East Asia within my very limited timeframe. Of course, species endemic to Kinabalu Park on Borneo are still high in my list (particularly the Whitehead’s trogon) !
I never get tired of seeing wild animals, even when I have already seen them before quite well. There is a very good observation spot for Collared broadbills (Eurylaimus ochromalus) on the boardwalk of the Sepilok Rainforest Discovery Center. Being there at the right time will allow you to get very good views of a group that is far from shy !
At last, I still hope to find a bit of time going around some European collections (I will be in west Germany for a quick 4-days zootour from 8th to 11th March) and I hope to have enough time to keep updating Pierre Wildlife’s species pages regularly. For your information, we are now standing at around 1800 animal taxa featured in the species’ pages ! More will come and, maybe someday, most of my collection will be online !
I will keep you updated on the travel schedule and will try to post more identification articles soon ! Until next time, take care and thanks again for your support !
Pierre de Chabannes
Founder, Pierre Wildlife
Let’s cross fingers for the very last tamaraw under human care, a male named Kali,
to be still alive when we come to photograph him again in May ! In the meantime, you can find Pierre Wildlife’s animal species page for the tamaraw by clicking HERE !