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Friday, July 15, 2011

Clouded Leopard Field Volunteers Needed

Researchers from Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit are seeking field volunteers to assist with camera trapping in Sabah, Borneo. The work will take place from September - December in the Crocker Range National Park, an area of rugged terrain and challenging climate. It's a great opportunity to assist in groundbreaking research on the elusive Sunda clouded leopard. Check here for information on requirements and applications details.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Borneo Carnivore Education Workshop
I didn’t get a chance to do any more postings while we were traveling due to our remote locations and lack of Internet access. So now that we’re back, over the next week I will be catching up with reports on some of the activities we were involved in and information we gathered.

One of the primary reasons that Maureen and I traveled to Borneo was to conduct an education workshop to initiate a collaborative carnivore education strategy for Sabah. We wanted to bring together the major players in environmental education in Sabah and discuss ways to augment their current educational programming to also include messaging and activities on carnivores. This would also be the venue for delivering our carnivore education kits to our partner organizations.

 Canopy walkway at the RDC

 
The workshop was held on June 28 at the Rainforest Discovery Center outside of Sandakan. This is a beautiful facility on the edge of the Kapili-Sepilok Forest Reserve that is managed by the Sabah Department of Forestry. The RDC provides extensive environmental education programming and has an amazing network of trails and rainforest boardwalks allowing visitors a peak into the canopy. We really enjoyed touring this facility and were even lucky enough to spot a flock of endemic Borneo bristleheads and see giant flying squirrels on a later visit!

  Workshop icebreaker

Twenty people attended the workshop including RDC staff members; educators from the non-profit group, Hutan; a member of the Sabah Wildlife Department who conducts education at the zoo in Kota Kinabalu; staff from the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Center; and several field researchers. The group worked together great, tackling tasks such as identifying key carnivore conservation education issues, prioritizing audiences, and beginning the development of key education strategies. The meeting ended with a plan in place for each of the organizations to institute carnivore messaging in ways appropriate and achievable for within their current structure.

 

In addition, Maureen and I went over the contents of the carnivore education kits and demonstrated several of the activities. Participants were very pleased with the kits and are eager to use them in their programs. We appreciate the Point Defiance AAZK Chapter and the donors of the CLP for making it possible to provide these teaching resources.


 


I’m hopeful that this meeting was just a first step in a long-term collaboration to benefit carnivore education in Borneo. Our role is to facilitate a partnership in which we can all continue to share resources and utilize the expertise and programming of the members of our diverse groups. I’m encouraged by our progress so far and hope it will benefit some of the endangered wildlife of Sabah. Much thanks goes to the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and the CLP for supporting this workshop.

  

We have an intern!
A new body has recently begun lurching around Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium; it seems the Clouded Leopard Project has a new intern. James Gaines is a recent graduate from the nearby University of Puget Sound and started working for us in mid-June. So far he has been busy scouring the world, updating our database with the latest information, and preparing to update our website, bibliography, and clouded leopard locator. He will also be helping the Clouded Leopard Project and the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium with its community outreach as well as learning the ropes of day to day zoo work.

James holds a bachelor's in Biology and is interested in conservation and science writing. He currently maintains a small natural history blog at www.theglyptodon.wordpress.com. Hopefully this internship should allow James a unique opportunity to hone his writing skills while also training him for future conservation or zoo work. Originally from Texas, James lives in Tacoma, Washington.