a field guide to the planet - by Damon Ramsey
The amazing mammals of the south-east Asian and Indian jungle...
Cynocephalus volans, 'Philippine Flying Lemur' 'Kagwang' (Bohol, Philippines).
There is one species of living elephant in Asia.
Elephas maximus, 'Asian Elephant' male, (Khao Yai National Park, Thailand). Found in forest and open habitats. Distributed from India to Borneo.
When groups of Asian elephants are seen, they are led by the dominant females and include young of both sexes (Kinabatangan River, Borneo, Malaysia). Once males reach maturity, they tend to head off by themselves. As all mature males should.
Elephant poo is big. Like elephant. (Kaeng Krahan National Park, Thailand).
The 'tree shrews' make up their own order. They were once lumped in with the Insectivora, and they look like a squirrel, but they are now considered more closely related to primates, and are not a type of shrew. They have been found to have the highest brain-to-body ratio of any mammal; however this may not mean they are super smart, but that they are just super small. Tree Shrews are found only in the forests of tropical south-east Asia.
At first glance, Tree Shrews look superficially like the unrelated squirrels that often live in the same Asian rainforest habitat. However, when seen from the side, Tree Shrews have more pointed and less cute heads, with naked lips and ears.
Tupaia belangeri, 'Northern Tree-shrew', (Doi Inthanon, Thailand).
Tupaia (?)montana, 'Mountain Tree Shrew' (Kota Kinabalu HQ, Malaysia). This species has been observed having a relationship with giant Pitcher plants; as they feed off sweet secretion provided by the plant, they sit over the pitcher (like a toilet seat) and defecate, providing nutrients for the plant. Endemic to the mountain rainforest of Borneo.
There are currently six species of Serow. They are often described as 'goat-antelopes' and are usually found around rocky habitats. They are restricted to Asia.
Capricornis milneedwardsii, 'Mainland Serow' (Khao Yai, Thailand). Split from previous IndoChinese Serow. This species is found mostly in mountain forest and clearings on mainland south-east Asia.
Sus barbatus, 'Bearded Pig' (Tanjung Puting National Park, Borneo, Indonesia). Found in forests, swamps and mangroves in the Malay peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo and some islands.
Thinking of travelling again after everything settles down? The first expedition I am booked to work on after the virus is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia with Coral Expeditions. Meanwhile, here is a shortened version of one of my lectures in a warmer part of the world.