HOPE Report No.38, 8th, April 2005.
Program No.38 (Joint research)
Visiting Danum Valley Conservation Area, Borneo
Goro Hanya : Occupation: Post-doctoral research fellow of JSPS, Primate
Research Institute, Kyoto University
Place of visit: Danum Valley Conservation Area and Lower Kinabatangan
Wildlife Sanctuary, Malaysia
Period of visit: 10 March, 2005 - 22 March, 2005
Contents of research:
I have been studying ecology of Japanese macaques which live in temperate
forest. To understand the characteristics of ecological adaptations of
temperate primates, it is important to compare with tropical primates, in
particular macaques in South Eastern macaques. The purpose of this visit
is to look for a study site to conduct such a study. I visited candidates
of study sites in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo and examined the possibilities
of researches there.
Danum Valley Conservation Area is a forest reserve of 438km2 in area
and is managed by the Sabah Foundation. It is two hours from Lahad Datu,
the nearest town and one hour from any other habitation by car. The forest
is less disturbed and hunting is strictly forbidden. There are two
facilities in this area, Danum Valley Field Center (DVFC) and Borneo
Rainforest Lodge (BRL). The former is for research and education and the
latter is for tourism. These facilities are 48 km apart, or one hour by
In both areas, I encountered at least two diurnal primates every day.
In one day, I observed four primates, including orangutans, Muller's
gibbons, maroon leaf monkeys, and pig-tailed macaques. Pig-tailed macaques
are common around DVFC, but rare around BRL. On the contrary, long-tailed
macaques are common around BRL but rare around DVFC. Orangutans were
habituated around both facilities. Other species were habituated around
BRL, but not around DVFC.
In DVFC, researchers are given independent houses and can use the
laboratory and computer room. Access to internet is possible. Permanent
research assistants are available. Flushing, flowering and fruiting
phenology is censused every month by these research assistants. Trails of
more than 50 km in length and permanent vegetation plots are established.
There are no facilities for research around BRL, but trails are
established as well as DVFC.
I also visited Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. Ikki Matsuda, a
graduate student at Hokkaido University, started the research of proboscis
monkeys in this February. Many primate groups, including proboscis
monkeys, pig-tailed macaques, long-tailed macaques and silver leaf monkeys
gather along the Kinabatangan river in evening. They are quite habituated
and easily observed from boats. The forest is disturbed, and tree height
was low, thus observation condition inside the forest is probably not bad.
Orangutans and Muller's gibbons are also distributed in this region.
Dining room at the Danum Valley Field Center
Orangutan at the Danum Valley Field Center
Proboscis monkeys at Sukau, Kinabatangan