Friday, September 24, 2010

Scientific Expeditions and Animal New Species

1. The Department of Forestry Peninsular Malaysia is instrumental in organising scientific expeditions in its forest reserves in the peninsula since 1999. The scientific expeditions were organised in all the states for the duration of 4-5 days due to financial and administrative constraints. Many scientists from the local institutes, universities and NGOs had participated, however, there are some sceptics who questioned the duration of the activities and what could be achieved in those short times, as opposed to the month-long expedition in those colonial times.

2. There had been many discoveries either the finding of new records to Peninsular Malaysia or to the respective states and new species to science in the animal world and plant world. For this posting I would like to discuss the former,

3. In Kedah, there were Theloderma licin, two new species of frog discovered from Ulu Muda; Hylarana montjerai from Gunung Jerai and a new record of Rhizophora stylosa from Pulau Pasir, Pulau Langkawi and a new record for Kedah of Costus oligophylus from Sungai Sedim. In Perak, a new Costus is also discovered. In Johor, a new species of frog, Rhacophorus norhayatii was described from Gunung Panti, a species differentiated from R. reinwardtii. From Pulau Pangkor, a new species of thrip, Thrip razanii has recently been named in honour of the present Director-General of Forestry Department.

4. From Bukit Bauk, a putatively new species of the smallest cyprinid fish was discovered, belonging to the genus Paedocypris and recently been placed in a new family. From Cameron Highlands, a new species of bat of the genus Otomops awaits new description.

5. There are many more cicadas, beetles and other insects, possibly ferns, mosses and angiosperms also awaits description and naming. A putative new Gnetum is discovered from Kenong, Pahang. A new record of Trichosanthes emarginata, a Sumateran species has been collected from Krau Wildlife Sanctuary.

6. All the above clearly showed that with some extra efforts by the zoologists and botanists, many new species and new records had been discovered. These are some spin-offs from the scientific expeditions conducted in the last decade. We look forwards to a new cycle of expeditions starting next year 2011.

Friday, September 17, 2010

On the Hari Raya 2010

1. We decided to go home to Kota Bharu after all for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri knowing very well we are going to suffer from traffic jam. Traffic jam at Kuala Krai junction is synonymous with hari Raya in Kelantan. Every year those traveling from Kuala Lumpur via Gua Musang suffered from it creating unnecessary stress and burning of extra fuel.

2. Those who decided to travel earlier i.e. Monday 7th, Tuesday 8th suffered the jam from Karak. My sister-in-law decided to go via Kuala Terengganu and so did my son. I decided to go via Gua Musang. We started on Thursday 9th about 11 am from Kuala Lumpur and arrived in Kota Bharu at ca. 6 pm. just before breaking the last fast.

3. Throughout the Hari Raya, traffic jams in Kota Bharu and its outside the city roads were the talk of the people. It was like the annual flood, it has become the time to rejoice. many wonders when are we going to experience less traffic jams. My friends blamed the volume of the traffic, others blamed on the reckless driving, some blamed the narrow roads and while the minority blamed themselves.

4. On the 16th we decided to travel back to Kajang, a day after my son went to watch Kelantan vs Negeri Sembilan football match at the Sultan Muhammad IV stadium. It was a fair match but that penalty was not a penalty - well we lack the electronic eye to see the reality. The Kelantanese defender tackled the NS forward outside the penalty areas but both fell inside the area, hence the silly penalty and the Red Warriors lost.

5. We left K Bharu at about 11 am and when we arrived at Ketereh the traffic was becoming bad and my wife directed my son to go either via Kuala Terengganu or Jeli. I dictated my son to drive via Gua Musang and the jam became worst as we approached Machang. We arrived at Kajang just after 9 pm, a mere 10 hours of fuel burning. After Gua Musang the traffic became normal and driving became joyful. When are we going to have an alternative route called a Highway in Kelantan? ...I am sure the BN government is going to promise it a month before the next General Election, like they did before the 2008 election!