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Going places no man has gone before

FEATURE25_Hoses CivetPeople like to leave their mark on the world. Something we did, or something we discovered or invented. Or something we built. We leave our names behind for all time, because we want our names to be immortalised. The highest mountain on earth bears Sir George Everest’s name. The Eiffel tower bears Gustave Eiffel’s name. The largest flower in the world is named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles. And the list goes on.

Borneo’s animal and plant life is rich with the names of people. There are so many plants and animals named after the people who first found them.  To someone who didn’t know how animals were named, it would appear curious that so many animals are named so-and-so’s frog, or so-and-so’s orchid. Do they belong to that person?

You’ll have to admit, being named Wallace’s Flying Frog has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? It imparts upon that species a sense of history. It is what we would call today, a “cool name”. You know what’s even cooler? There are several of these named species on Borneo that seem to have mysteriously disappeared from the face of the earth. It seems almost impossible that over 100 years ago, some white man, who hardly knew anything about Borneo, came here, found some animal (killed and skinned it) and now it carries his name. And since then, nobody has seen one. How is this so?

There is an answer. These early explorers in a new land. This was a mysterious land to them, of which hardly anyone knew anything about. They were extremely curious. They were driven by a purpose, and a desire to find out new things. They may not have been the best trained scientists, nor did they have all the best equipment to do research, but they had curiosity. They constantly asked questions. Where is this place, what animals and plants live there, and how can I get up that high mountain?

Today’s scientists are not as curious any more. They are surrounded with all sorts of equipment and comfortable air-conditioned laboratories. They have scores of lab assistants and students doing everything for them. Gone are the days when scientists would go out into the forests, swamps and mountains, spend months out there just looking at things. Today, they have remote cameras, which they can put up in the forests, and see what they capture on video. They use satellites, and more recently, drones. They have become distanced from the forests.

People like Alfred Wallace and John Whitehead didn’t sit in one place. They climbed mountains, and have many species named after them. Charles Hose, a government official under British Borneo, did the same. He found a civet in the highlands of Borneo in 1891, and it was eventually named Hose’s Civet. Over the next 100 years, it became one of the rarest and least known civets in the world, with only 17 specimens ever found, and stored in museums. Four of these specimens were collected by Tom Harrison between 1945 and 1949, in the Kelabit highlands in Sarawak.

This beautiful one-of-a-kind civet has recently come to light, after a researcher from a university in Sarawak decided he was going to go back to the old ways, and really spend time in the Sarawak mountains. He walked and walked, climbed and climbed, and became very tired. He also grew a long beard. But he eventually found out something we didn’t know – the Hose’s civet still exists, and is quite common in the mountains. It only comes out at night, and is a very silent creature.

How many other lifeforms like Hose’s Civet live in Borneo’s forests? How many more have never been seen by anyone, and have no name? How many CCTV cameras will our modern scientists have to put up in the forests to find things?

We better start going out to places no man has gone before to find these animals. If we do not know they exist, how can we protect them from extinction? The age of exploration, as we call it, is today focussed on Mars. We seek new worlds, and set our sights on distant planets. But we have yet to fully understand our own planet. Perhaps we never will.

china_640Chinese

去没有人到过的地方

FEATURE25_Hoses Civet人们喜欢在世界上留下他们的印记。我们做的事,或我们发现或发明的东西,或者我们建的东西。我们在任何时候都把名字留下,因为我们希望我们的名字永远流存。地球最高的山上有乔治·埃弗斯特爵士的名字。埃菲尔铁塔承担着Gustave Eiffel的名字。世界上最大的花以托马斯·斯坦福德莱佛士爵士命名。这列表可以持续下去。

婆罗洲的动植物富含人的名字。有这么多的植物和动物以首先发现牠们的人命名。对于不知道动物如何命名的人来说,让人好奇的是,许多动物被命名为某某的青蛙,或者某某的兰花。牠们属于那个人吗?

你必须承认,被命名华莱士飞青蛙有一个光环,不是吗?它赋予了该物种历史感。今天,我们说这些名字“很酷”。你知道更酷的吗?在婆罗洲有几个这些名字的物种似乎神秘地从地球上消失了。几乎不可能的是,在100多年前,一些白人,几乎不知道任何关于婆罗洲的事,他们来到这里,发现一些动物(杀了并将之标本),如今那些物种携带他们的名字。从那时起,没有人再见到过。这是怎么回事?

有一个答案。这些早期探险家来到一片新天地。对他们而言这是一个神秘的土地,几乎没有人知道任何这的事情。他们非常好奇。他们被一个目的驱动,渴望找到新的东西。他们可能不是最训练有素的科学家,他们也没有最好的设备做研究,但他们有好奇心。他们不断地问问题。这个地方在哪里?什么动物和植物生活在那里?我怎么爬上那座高山?

今天的科学家不再那么有好奇心。他们周围环绕着各种设备和舒适的空调实验室。他们有数十名实验室助理和学生为他们做一切。科学家们出去森林,沼泽和山脉,花费几个月在那里看东西的日子已经成为过去。今天,他们有远程摄像机,他们可以放在森林里,看看他们拍摄的视频。他们使用卫星。最近,他们使用无人机。他们已经远离森林。

像阿尔弗雷德·华莱士和约翰怀特海德这种人,他们不会坐在一个地方。他们爬上山,有许多物种以他们命名。英国婆罗洲政府官员查尔斯·霍斯也这样做。他在1891年在婆罗洲的高地发现了一只麝猫,牠最终被命名为霍氏缟灵猫(Hose's Civet)。在接下来的100年,牠成为世界上最罕见和最不知名的缟灵猫,只有17个标本被发现并存储在博物馆。这些标本中的四个是由汤姆哈里逊在1945年和1949年之间,在砂拉越的Kelabit高地收集的。

这个美丽的独一无二的缟灵猫最近受到了关注。一名砂拉越大学的研究员决定要回归到旧的方式,真正花时间在砂拉越山区。他走啊走,爬啊爬,很累了,连胡子也长了。但他最终发现了我们不知道的东西,霍氏缟灵猫依然存在。在山区很常见,牠只在晚上出来,是一只非常安静的生物。

有多少类似霍氏缟灵猫的其他物种住在婆罗洲的森林?还有多少从未被人见过,没有名字?现代科学家们需要在森林里装置多少摄像机来发现新事物?

我们最好现在出发去没有人去过的地方寻找这些动物。如果我们不知道牠们的存在,我们如何保护牠们免受灭绝?现今是探索的时代,重点是火星。我们寻找新世界,并将我们的视线放在遥远的行星上。但我们还没有完全理解我们自己的星球。也许我们永远不能。

united_kingdom_640  英语

婆罗洲上的远古蓝眼睛

monitorweb2当事物涉及到婆罗洲岛时,一个人所可以预期的是...不可预期。人们期望见到在地球上其他地方找不到的植物和动物。人们甚至期望这些独特的植物和动物是奇特的,看起来完全不同于任何其他动植物,做其他动植物没有做的事情。怀有这些期望的人不会失望。婆罗洲充满这类生命体。有许多今日我们知道了,但更多的我们还不知道。牠们在森林、河流和山区默默地等待,耐心等待有人发现牠们,然后告诉世界牠们的存在,把牠们带到聚光灯下。牠们等待被发现,等待阳光照亮牠们的小天地。

这里有一个关于这类独特动物的故事。牠是在1878年发现和描述,但从来没有人详细理解和目睹牠的生活形式。牠是婆罗洲无耳蜥蜴,学名为Lanthanotus borneensis。牠首次出现是在婆罗洲北部的一场洪水后,被人发现的一只死动物,地点是在诗巫市附近。牠长15英寸,覆盖着刺状的鳞,长尾巴和小脚。这是一只蜥蜴。牠没有耳朵!

2015年,在某一个地方,我遇见一只活生生的无耳蜥。那是一个阳光明媚的日子,我在一条清溪旁休息。我刚刚在闷热潮湿的丛林徒步3个小时,发现了这条我见过的最清澈的河水。我坐在河岸上被水雕塑光滑的巨石上,吃着从我的背包底部挖出来,被挤压得极度扁平的鸡蛋三明治。我那件被汗湿透的衬衫凉在岩石上,上面覆盖着被咸汗水味吸引过来的蝴蝶。

我一直坐在那里约30分钟,突然我看到在水中的动静。我发现一只小蜥蜴在水面上游泳,距离我约有10米。在牠游得缓慢之际,我意识到这是我从来没有见过的生物。牠的表皮鼓起,不像普通的婆罗洲水蜥蜴。牠全身是棕红色的,不似鳄鱼具有独特的标记。第一眼的印象,牠似乎是非常粗糙的皮肤。牠的皮肤显然不光滑。牠在水中消失。

我注视这个地方很长一段时间,可能整整15分钟,我又发现了牠,融合在一片岩石间。牠一半身子爬出水面,在岩石上。这一次我可以使用我的双筒望远镜,并惊讶于我所看到的!在我面前是一种外观似史前爬行动物的生物。我注意到的第一件事是牠的眼睛。它们是蓝色的。蓝色的眼睛和棕红色的蜥蜴,完全格格不入。

这是一只全身布满鳞片的蜥蜴,每个鳞片是凸起的钻石形状,像一条蛇。在这些鳞片上是一行行粗糙尖锥形的角。每个角就像一个小金字塔,底部宽阔,尖端钝。每个尖端都有一点点颜色,从头部一直到尾部形成虚线的外观。

我把双筒望远镜放开了一会儿,向后仰坐吸纳我正在看的东西。我的心跳得很快,我意识到我呼吸急促。看到我以前从未见过的动物的强烈兴奋感开始消退,我开始再次正常呼吸。

然后我可以再次看着这只令人难以置信的蜥蜴,用一个平静的心灵和稳定的手。我开始仔细观察牠,仔细观察牠的形状、颜色、标记和我能想到的一切。我知道到我有时间,因为牠只是躺在那里,显然没有打算很快离开。我也不会很快离开!直到牠离开。

最终牠滑回水中,游了一个懒惰的蛇形泳式,使我感觉牠是蛇而不是蜥蜴。牠大小奇怪的肢体和细长的身体使牠真的看起来更像一条蛇在游泳。牠没有用牠的脚来推动自己,而是用身体的起伏来游泳,就像一条蛇。我不得不认为这是一种介于蛇和蜥蜴之间所演化成的动物。它的钝口鼻和几乎没有可辨别的颈部增添这种效果。

这就是我与一只非凡动物第一次会面的过程。另一种在婆罗洲进化的生命形式,仍然限居于这个大岛上。这次遭遇给我留下了更多的问题而不是答案。牠也振奋我决心找到下一只还未被人见过的婆罗洲动物。我心深处知道这些动物确实存在。牠们在外头,等待有人找到牠们,并告诉世界牠们的存在。给予牠们认可,给牠们一个名字,并给牠们一个健全和安全的未来。当然这是大自然对我们的要求,一个简单的要求...认识牠们!

united_kingdom_640  英语

Ancient Blue Eyes on Borneo

monitorweb2When it comes to the island of Borneo, one expects the unexpected. One expects plants and animals that are found nowhere else on earth. One even expects these unique animals to be strange, look completely different from any other animal in nature, and do things no others do. And those who have these expectations are not disappointed. Borneo is full of exactly such lifeforms. Many we know of today, but many more we don’t know of yet. They wait, silently in the forests, rivers and mountains, waiting patiently for someone to discover them, tell the world about them, and bring them into the world’s spotlight. They await recognition. They await their little place in the sun.

Here’s a story about one of these unique animals, discovered and described in 1878 but never properly understood and seen in its living form. This is the Bornean Earless Monitor, scientifically named Lanthanotus borneensis. It was first described from a dead animal found after a flood in northern Borneo, near the town of Sibu. It was 15 inches long, covered with a leathery skin with thorn-like spikes, a long tail and small feet. It was a lizard. It had no ears.

In 2015, at an undisclosed location, I encountered a living earless monitor. It was a sunny day, and I was resting by a small clearwater stream. I had just trekked 3hrs through the humid jungle, and found this small bubbling brook of the clearest water I’ve ever seen. I was sitting on the smooth water-sculptured boulders on its banks, lunching on an extremely squashed egg sandwich dug out from the bottom of my rucksack. My sweat-drenched shirt was drying on a rock, covered with a whole bunch of fluttering butterflies attracted by the salty sweat.

I had been sitting there about 30mins when suddenly I saw movement in the water. I spotted a small lizard swimming on the surface, some 10m from me. Following its slow swim, I realised this was a creature I had never seen before. It had a plump appearance, unlike a water monitor which is the common swimming reptile one encounters on Borneo. It was all reddish brown, unlike a crocodile which has distinctive markings. It appeared to be very rough skinned at first impression. Its skin was clearly not smooth. It disappeared under water.

I watched the area for a long time, probably a full 15 minutes before I spotted the animal again, emerging amongst some rocks. It climbed half way out of the water and settled on a rock. This time I could put my binoculars on it, and was amazed at what I saw! Before me was some prehistoric-looking reptile. The first thing I noticed was its eyes. They were blue. Blue eyes were totally out of character for a reddish-brown lizard.

This was a heavily scaled lizard, with each scale a bulging diamond-shape, like a snake. On top of this heavily scaled skin were rows of rough-pointed conical thorns. Each thorn was like a small pyramid, broad at the base and blunt at the tip. Each tip was slightly lighter coloured, creating the appearance of dotted lines from its head all the way to its tail.

I took my binoculars away for a moment, sitting back to absorb what I was looking at. My heart was beating fast, and I realised I was hyperventilating. The overpowering excitement of seeing an animal I had never seen before began to subside, and I began to breathe normally again.

Now I could watch this incredible lizard again, with a calm mind and steady hands. I began to observed it in great detail, taking mental notes of its shape, colour, markings and everything else I could think of. I realised I had time, because it was just lying there, apparently with no intention of leaving soon. I too wasn’t leaving anytime soon either! Not until it left.

It did eventually slip back into the water and swim away with a lazy serpentine movement that made me think snake rather than lizard. Its oddly sized small limbs and elongated body made it really look more like a snake when swimming. It didn’t use its feet to propel itself, but rather the undulations of its body, just like a snake. I couldn’t help think this must be an animal evolutionarily somewhere in-between a snake and a lizard. Its blunt snout and virtually no discernible neck added to this effect.

There ends my account of a first-time meeting with an extraordinary animal. Yet another lifeform that has evolved on Borneo, and remains confined to this great island. The encounter left me with more questions than answers. It also left me with a revitalised resolve to find the next Bornean animal that no one has yet seen. I know deep inside me that these animals exist. They are out there, waiting for someone to find them, and tell the world about them. Give them their moment in the sun. Give them recognition, give them a name and give them a sound and safe future. Surely this is what nature asks of us, one simple ask – know them!

china_640Chinese

The Otters of Borneo

newotterweb

Otters are amongst the most instantly lovable animals in the world. Without ever seeing a living otter, most people would attest to how adorable they are, how their fluffy fur makes them most huggable, and they are the most playful of animals. There is no doubt that few wild animals have the appeal otters have. They are indeed the most playful of animals. Even the ancient versions of their name means to play. Scientists have discovered that otters really do play amongst themselves just for the fun of it. Instead of lying still and doing nothing, they engage in playful fights, jump and run around the place and basically entertain themselves constantly. Why do they do this? The only answer would be, why not?

What most of us do not know is that the is not one, but three otters on Borneo. One is big, really big, with huge feet. This is the smooth otter, and they can grow to over 1 metre long, and weigh over 10kg. Smooth otters live almost exclusively along the coasts, and freely swim in the surf along beaches. They live in family groups of up to 8 members. It is called the smooth otter because it’s fur is shorter than all other otters, making its pelt the smoothest of all the otters. All otters have historically been hunted for their pelts, which are both waterproof and warm.

The second otter on Borneo is the hairy-nosed otter, which is smaller than the smooth otter. This is a dark coloured otter, with fine hairs growing on its nose, hence its name. This otter is one of the rarest of the otters, and until recently, was thought to have disappeared from Borneo. We now know that they still exist. This species appears to be a deep forest species, almost never seen. They appear to prefer swampy habitats like peat swamp forests. Hairy-nosed otters live in smaller families of 4 to 5 members.

The third otter is the smallest. This is the small-clawed otter, and is the most commonly seen otter throughout Borneo. They can be found in almost any habitat, from villages, ricefields, all rivers and even heading up mountains. This small otter lives in large family groups, sometimes seen in groups of over 10 animals. These dark grey animals are sometimes considered a nuisance, especially around fish farms and ponds. Keep fish in a pond and these otters will pay you a visit and help themselves to your fish!

As with almost all Borneo’s animals, there is always some mystery associated with them. Otters are no exception. In the museum in Kuching, Sarawak, there are two otter skins, labelled Eurasian Otter. These were added to the collection in 1959 and 1961, from the Bario highlands. Apart from these two skins, there has not been any record of this species on Borneo. Where did these skins come from? Were they brought in by traders from somewhere else? Is there an undiscovered population of the Eurasian otter up in the central highlands of Borneo? Only time will tell. If the Eurasian otter is found on Borneo, it would be news indeed. This would be an extension of this species from mainland Asia all the way down to Borneo.

Regardless, the fact that Borneo has three species of otters is wonderful. These adorable animals are in many ways a reflection of the inhabitants of Borneo. Fun-loving, water-loving and ferocious hunters, just like the natives of Borneo. They depend on clean water like the river-living folk all across Borneo. Sensitive animals, yet resilient in character. Their appearance of a sleek vision moving through the water is contrasted with a totally different appearance when dry, all fluffed up and cuddly.

The otters are one of only two mammals (the other is the Beaver of north America) which have totally adapted themselves to an aquatic existence. Their webbed feet are unique in the mammalian world. They swim like no other animal, effortless, elegant and mesmerising. If you’ve ever had the luck to see wild otters, you will recall the smile they brought to your face. You can’t help but smile and think to yourself: wow, what a joy they are to watch, and they make me feel good. May otters always be a part of this great island of Borneo, and continue to bring smiles to all.

china_640Chinese

婆罗洲的水獭

newotterweb

水獭是世界上最讨喜可爱的动物之一。没见过活水獭的,大多数人仍会认定牠们是多么可爱。牠们蓬松的毛皮让人想要搂抱牠们,也是最好玩的动物。毫无疑问,很少野生动物有水獭般讨喜的样子。牠们确实是最好玩的动物。甚至牠们的古老名字意味着玩。科学家发现,水獭真的在互相玩乐,只是为了乐趣。而不是静止躺着什么都不做,他们参与顽皮的战斗、跳跃和奔跑,基本上在不断自我娱乐。牠们为什么这样做?唯一的答案是,为什么不呢?

我们大多数人不知道的是,婆罗洲不只有一种水獭,而是三种。一种是大的,真的大,有巨大的脚。这是光滑的水獭,牠们可以长到超过1米长,重超过10公斤。光滑的水獭几乎只存在于沿海,并在海滩上畅游冲浪。牠们的家庭成员最多有8名。它被称为光滑水獭,因为它的毛皮比所有其他水獭短,是所有水獭中最光滑的。所有水獭都有被猎杀的记录,为了牠们的毛皮,牠的毛皮是防水和温暖的。

第二只水獭是毛鼻子水獭,比光滑的水獭小。这是一只深色的水獭,其鼻子上长着细细的毛,令牠因此得名。这只水獭是最罕见的水獭之一,直到最近被人以为已经从婆罗洲消失。我们现在知道牠们仍然存在。这种物种似乎是一个森林深处的物种,几乎从未被人见过。牠们看似很喜欢沼泽栖息地,比如泥炭沼泽森林。毛鼻子水獭的家庭较小,只有4至5名成员。

第三只水獭是体型最小的。这是小爪水獭,是婆罗洲最常见的水獭。牠们可以居住在几乎任何栖息地,从村庄、稻田、所有河流,甚至山上。这只小水獭生活在大家庭群体,有时我们会看到超过10只的群体。这些深灰色的动物有时被认为是种滋扰,特别是在养鱼场和池塘周围。把鱼养在池塘里,这些水獭会来拜访你,并自便吃了你的鱼!

几乎所有婆罗洲的动物,总是有一些神秘伴随着牠们,水獭也不例外。在砂拉越,古晋的博物馆,有两件水獭皮,标记为欧亚水獭。这两件收藏是在1959年和1961年添加的,源自于巴里奥高原。除了这两件毛皮,这个物种在婆罗洲没有任何记录。这些毛皮是从哪里来的?牠们是从其他地方的交易商买来的吗?是否在婆罗洲中部高原存在未为人知的欧亚水獭群体?只有时间告诉我们答案。如果在婆罗洲发现欧亚水獭,这确实是新闻。这将是这物种从亚洲大陆,一路来到婆罗洲的延伸。

无论如何,婆罗洲有三种水獭的事实是美好的。这些可爱的动物在许多方面是婆罗洲生态的反映。喜欢作乐、热爱游泳和凶猛的猎人,就像婆罗洲的土著。牠们依赖清洁的水,正如婆罗洲各地的河流生活的人民一样。牠事敏感的动物,但性格具有弹性。牠们的外观,湿水和干燥对比有绝然不同的观感。在水里时顺滑,干燥时,所有皮毛蓬松,看起来很可爱。

水獭是世上仅有的两种,能够完全适应水里生活的哺乳动物之一。另一种是北美海狸。牠们的蹼脚在哺乳动物世界是独一无二的。牠们游泳不像其他动物,毫不费力,优雅和迷人。如果你曾经有运气去看野生水獭,你会记得牠们带给你的愉悦。你不能自主的微笑,不禁想:哇,看着牠们令我快乐,牠们让我感觉良好。愿水獭永远是这伟大的婆罗洲岛的一部分,并继续带给所有人微笑。

united_kingdom_640  英语

规划一条通往灭亡之路

hornbill2headswebv2

 

From the Editor: This article depicts the nature and impact of wildlife trade on wild species. Names and places used are fictitious.

这一切始于2011年,台北。徐先生正在与他的供应商会面。桌子上是一个极其精致的雕刻,灯光映照下焕发着橙红色。“我不买卖犀鸟角“徐先生边说边向后靠。“我的整个业务在过去30年一直是象牙”他补充说。在接下来的两个小时,这个交易商做了一个巨大的决定。徐先生将投资100万美元建立一个网络,为他的工匠提供犀鸟角。如果成功,这个新的项目可以获利数百万。

徐先生坐在采购非洲和东南亚象牙行业的顶端,控制着收藏家、包装商、卡车司机和托运人的运输网络。他们可以从不同地方收集大量象牙,运到他在台北、上海和香港的仓库。从这些仓库,象牙可以卖给任何需要这种珍贵工艺品材料的人。徐先生是世界上主要的分销商,他的集团估计价值9亿美元。他是一个富有的人。

徐先生也是一个有难题的富人。象牙的供应越来越困难。价格上涨,他的许多客户走了。在台北的会议上,他被推荐一个新产品。他决定在市场上推出一种极高品质的新产品,开启了远在半个地球外,一只无辜的鸟儿走向灭亡的道路。

事实上,犀鸟角压根儿不是什么新产品。早在一千年前,第一批中国贸易商出现在婆罗洲海岸以来就有了。今天,犀鸟角是最昂贵的角。 犀鸟角基本上与象牙的材料相同,只是它更柔软,并且有颜色,不只是平常的乳白色,犀鸟角有深黄色和红色的色调。雕刻它,这个角看起来绝对美丽。没有其他动物有这种深色的角。市场价格高达一公斤6000美元,它的价值是象牙的3倍。

在台北会议后的3个月内,有个人从香港飞往雅加达,会见他的印尼商业伙伴。接下来的5天,他们在五星级酒店进行冗长的讨论,提出了一个行动计划。仅仅两个星期后,三个人从雅加达出发,飞往坤甸、巴厘巴板和班杰尔马辛。他们每个人在这三个城镇建立基地,在那里呆了3个月。

在接下来的一年,他们招聘中间人在加里曼丹的村庄之间放出风声,称有人愿意为头盔犀鸟(Helmeted Hornbill),每一头支付10美元。之后这些中间人雇佣一个人进出村子。他们使用巴士、汽车、摩托车和船只。他们航向婆罗洲各大河流,巴里托、马哈卡姆,卡普阿斯。 在这个辽阔岛屿的内陆,他们花时间与村民交谈。 “每个犀鸟头我将支付10美元,不要问任何问题。”“我每3个月来收集一次。“这是我的电话号码。你可以打电话给我,如果你有可观的库存准备收集,比如说至少50头。“

消息很快传遍各个村庄,有人要买头盔犀鸟的头。得到10个头,就是100美元。好赚!额外的收入。当他们外出狩猎野猪和鹿时,如果遇到一个头盔犀鸟,嘿!这是值得去赚的奖金。

在各个村庄,人们很快就知道有人要买头盔犀鸟。到了2013年,估计有2000个犀鸟头送到徐先生在上海的仓库。2015年,6000个犀鸟头被追踪到送往中国的3个仓库,全部由徐先生的集团所拥有。每个犀鸟头只有约300克的犀鸟角。 10只鸟会给你3公斤角。 6000只鸟将生产1800公斤。 以每公斤6000美元的市场价格计算,这价值约1千零80万美元。

为了对这数字有更清晰的透视,我们加上中间人的薪金、运输成本,贿赂和其他将这些头从婆罗洲运到中国的相关成本,每个头的成本约150美元,或90万美元的成本去获得1800公斤犀鸟角,以便在中国销售和分销。相当不错的生意,你说是吗?

这个故事最令人饮泣的,就是头盔犀鸟本身。在婆罗洲、苏门答腊和马来半岛的逾十种犀鸟当中,只有头盔犀鸟有角!其余的只有空心角。虽然基本上是黑色和白色的鸟,一些的角有深黄色和红色,以及他们的部分羽毛有白色。这种颜色来自尾脂腺,也被称为尿臀腺。这个腺是在鸟的下背部,分泌黄色或带红色的油。就像我们使用油来保持我们的头发健康和整洁,鸟类以相同的方式使用这种油。

随着时间的累积,这种油吸收到犀鸟角里,并将它染成这些美丽的黄色和红色。这就是为什么犀鸟角有这些美丽的颜色。这就是为什么犀鸟角是如此昂贵。这也是为什么亚洲最美丽的犀鸟之一变得极度濒危。

徐先生的网络现在扩展到苏门答腊、马来西亚半岛和婆罗洲北部。在2015年,头盔犀鸟被列为全球濒临绝种的濒危物种。这意味着,如果不加以控制,目前的做法将导致这个壮丽的犀鸟在不久的将来绝种。

united_kingdom_640  英语

看这个帖子的人也对以下帖子感兴趣:

 

Planning a Path to Perdition

hornbill2headswebv2

 

From the Editor: This article depicts the nature and impact of wildlife trade on wild species. Names and places used are fictitious.

It all began in 2011, in Taipei. Mr. Hsien was in a meeting with his suppliers. On the table was a most exquisite carved piece of ivory, glowing orange-red in the light. “I don’t deal with hornbill ivory” Mr. Hsien said, leaning back. “My entire business over the past 30 years has been elephant ivory”, he added. Over the course of the next two hours, this group of ivory traders made a monumental decision. Mr. Hsien would invest USD1 million to set up a network to supply his craftsmen with hornbill ivory. If successful, this new venture could rake in millions.

Mr. Hsien sat at the top of an industry that sourced for ivory in Africa and Southeast Asia, controlling a transportation network of collectors, packagers, truckers, and shippers. They could accumulate large amounts of ivory from different places, shipping them to his warehouses in Taipei, Shanghai and Hongkong. From these warehouses, ivory could be sold to anyone who needed this precious material for craftworks. Mr. Hsien was the primary distributor in the world, and his conglomerate was estimated to be worth USD900 million. He was a rich man.

Mr. Hsien was also a rich man with a problem. Supply of ivory was getting more and more difficult. Prices were going up, and many of his clients were moving away. At the Taipei meeting, a new product was proposed to him. His decision to introduce an extremely high quality new product into the market began a path to perdition for an innocent bird half a world away.

Hornbill ivory is in fact not a new product at all. It has been used ever since the first Chinese traders appeared on the shores of Borneo a thousand years ago. Today, Hornbill ivory is the most expensive ivory available. Hornbill ivory is basically the same material as elephant tusks, except that it is softer, and it has colour. Instead of the normal milky white, hornbill ivory has hues of deep yellow and red. Carved, this ivory looks absolutely beautiful. And there is no other animal that has this deep richly coloured ivory. Fetching up to USD6,000 a kilogram, it is worth three times that of elephant ivory.

Within three months of the Taipei meeting, a man from Hongkong flies into Jakarta. He is met by his Indonesian business counterpart. They spend the next five days in discussions in a 5-star hotel, an come up with a plan of action. Just 2 weeks later, three men board flights from Jakarta, to Pontianak, Balikpapan and Banjarmasin. Each of these men set up base in these three towns, staying there for three months.

Over the next year, middlemen are recruited to put the word out amongst the villages throughout Kalimantan that there is someone willing to pay USD10 for one head of the Helmeted Hornbill. These middlemen then hire a network of people who go out into the villages. They use buses, cars, motorcycles and boats. They head up the great rivers of Borneo, the Barito, Mahakam, Kapuas. In the interior of this vast island, they spend time talking to villagers. “I will pay USD10 per hornbill head, no questions asked.” “I will come here every three months to collect”. “This is my phone number. You can call me if you have a good stock ready for collection, say at least 50 heads.”

Across the villages, people quickly learn that there’s someone buying helmeted hornbill heads. Get 10 heads, and that’s USD100. Good money! Additional income for them. While out hunting for wild pig and deer, come across a helmeted hornbill, and hey! That’s a bonus worth going after.

By 2013, an estimated 2,000 heads arrived in Mr. Hsien’s warehouse in Shanghai. In 2015, 6,000 heads were reliably tracked to three warehouses in China, all owned by Mr. Hsien’s group of companies. To put this number in perspective, each hornbill head has only about 300gms of ivory. Ten birds would give you 3kgs of ivory. 6,000 birds would produce 1,800kg. At a market price of USD6,000 per kg, this is worth about USD10.8 million.

For a more sobering perspective, add 150% to the USD10 per head for middlemen salaries, shipping costs, bribes and other costs associated with getting these heads from Borneo to China, and that’s a cost price of USD150 per head, or USD900,000 per year to obtain 1,800kg of hornbill ivory ready for sale and distribution across China. Pretty good business, wouldn’t you say?

The most sobering fact of this story is the Helmeted Hornbill itself. Of the ten hornbills on Borneo, Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, only the Helmeted Hornbill has ivory! All the rest have hollow bills. Although basically black and white birds, several hornbills have deep yellows and reds on their bills and white parts of their feathers. This colour comes from the uropygial gland, also known as the preen gland. This gland is found on the lower back of the bird, and secretes a yellow or reddish oil. Just like we use oils and creams to keep our hair healthy and neat, birds use this oil in the same way.

Over time, this oil absorbs into the ivory, and stains it these beautiful yellows and reds. This is why hornbill ivory has these beautiful colours. This is why hornbill ivory is so expensive. This is also why one of Asia’s most beautiful hornbills has become critically endangered.

Mr. Hsien’s network is now expanding to Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia and the northern States of Borneo. In 2015, the Helmeted Hornbill was listed as critically endangered globally. This means that if unchecked, current practices will result in extinction of this magnificent hornbill in the very near future.

china_640Chinese

婆罗洲的奇异粉红海豚

3dolphinweb

人类有很多种肤色。家犬也有很多种毛色。地球上很少物种如人类和家犬这般的。你曾想过为什么吗?“我昨天在电视上看到这只大动物,你知道是什么动物吗?”我回问”牠是什么颜色的?“。”牠有黑色和白色条纹。“噢,那是只斑马,对吗?牠看起来像一只马,不是吗?”“是的!”

这番谈话有一个基本的假设:斑马总是黑白条纹的。有些人会告诉你,这是当然的,斑马本来就是这样子。如果牠是纯白色的,牠就不是斑马,对吗?你是对的,但也错了。让你了解为什么你同时是对和错,得谈到遗传学的故事。对大多数人来说,这是一件非常无聊的事情,但对其他人来说却是一个非常迷人的世界。

没有人会惊讶你的儿子看起来像你,或你的姐姐有着与你祖母完全相同的头发。你会说:“这是当然的,他们是我们的家人,我们流着同样的血。“事实上,这与你的血液无关,一切都与你与父母和你的后代分享的基因有关。

婆罗洲的整个海岸居住着一种动物,其颜色截然不同。 在婆罗洲附近海域发现的几种海豚中,其中有一种令科学家迷惑了许多年。牠是印度太平洋驼背海豚。 牠的拉丁名字是Sousa chinensis。 这是一只大海豚,长达2.5米,成年的重量达200公斤。牠们的家庭不大,大约五或六只。成年海豚通常是孤独的,或成对的,只有当年轻海豚在一起时才形成更大的群体。

这海豚有什么特别呢?嗯...,牠是粉红色的。那又怎样?”你可能会问。如果每一只海豚都是粉红色的,那没什么。但奇怪的是,牠们不都是粉红色的!一个家庭可能有粉红色的海豚,灰色的海豚,有时甚至出现斑点的海豚。牠们都是来自同一个家庭:父亲,母亲和孩子。

这些是白化病吗? 白化病动物在自然界中是常见的,当人群中的一些个体(如人类家族中的一些个体)出生时具有不同的遗传组成时,遗传学的一个畸变,导致他们的皮肤没有称为黑色素的色素。它赋予皮肤颜色,你拥有的颜料越多,你的肤色越黑。没有黑色素,你变成粉红色。你的眼睛是红色的。

这一切听起来相当技术性,不是吗? 让我们忘记为什么这些在婆罗洲周围的海豚是粉红色的,我们来问一个不同的问题。对于动物而言,家庭中的成员不是同一种颜色意味着什么?正如我们前面所讨论的,所有(好吧,几乎所有)自然界中的动物很容易被牠们的图案,颜色和形状所识别为属于相同类型。 斑马总是条纹的,如果不是,牠不会是斑马!

事实是,这个海豚可以认得牠的母亲,儿子或表弟,当牠们长的完全不同,使他们更像人类。你的哥哥有卷发,你有直发,但你知道他是你的兄弟。你俩都是人类,你们都有同样的父母亲,但你看起来这么不同!为什么这发生在人类,但不是在大多数其他动物? 为什么这只海豚就像我们一样?这与我们的大脑能力有关吗?

我们都听说了,人类只使用他们大脑的10%。这完全是废话!我们使用我们大脑的100%,只不过不是在同一时间使用所有部分。海豚也是这样,但...。 海豚的大脑比人的大得多。 人类大脑有三个叶,海豚有四个。 人类的大脑在出生时是成年人的25%,在三到四年内达到约80%。海豚宝宝的大脑在出生时是其母亲的42%,并在18个月达到80%。

科学家知道大脑的大小和成长是智慧增长的两个重要因素。这我们确实知道这点。因此我们可以总结出人类和海豚是异常聪明的生物。天晓得,海豚可能比人类更聪明。这是否可以成为一种解释?高智商的生物不必长的完全一样?我是灰色的,但我的宝宝可以是粉红色的,海豚妈妈说。我短而白,但你可以长而黑,海豚爸爸如是告诉牠英俊的儿子!

科学家尚未寻找到此问题的答案。我们期望有一天他们会发现。然后他们可以朝向另一个问题...狗应该也是很高智商的生物,你说是吗?

united_kingdom_640  英语

The Mysterious Pink Dolphin of Borneo

3dolphinwebHuman beings come in many colours. Domestic dogs come in many colours too. It seems very few other lifeforms on earth are like humans and dogs. Have you ever wondered why? “I saw this large animal on television yesterday. Do you know what it is?” “What colour was it” I ask. “It had black and white stripes.” “Oh, that’s a zebra. It looked like a horse, didn’t it?” “Yesss!”

This conversation makes one basic assumption: the zebra is always striped black-and-white. Some people will tell you that of course this is true. That’s what a zebra is. If it was pure white, it wouldn’t be a zebra, would it? You would be correct, but also wrong. Understanding why you are both correct and wrong is the story of genetics. A terribly boring subject to most people, but a hugely fascinating world to others.

No one is surprised that your son looks like you, or your sister has the exact same hair as your grandmother. You would say “Of course they would. They are our family. We share the same blood.” In fact, it has nothing to do with your blood, and everything to do with the genes you share with your parents and your offspring.

All around the coast of Borneo lives an animal that shows a striking variation in colour. Of the several species of dolphins found in the seas around Borneo, one species has mystified scientists for many years. This is the Indo-pacific hump-backed dolphin. Its Latin name is Sousa chinensis. This is a large dolphin, growing to 2.5m in length, with mature adults reaching weights of 200kg. They live in small family groups of five or six animals. Adults are usually solitary, or in pairs, and only form larger groups when young are present.

So what’s so special about this dolphin? Well, it is pink. “So what?” you might ask. It wouldn’t be that much of a deal is all of them were pink, but the curious thing is that they are not all pink! A family group may consist of pink dolphins, grey dolphins and sometimes even spotted dolphins. And they are all one family: father, mother and children.

Are these albinos? Albino animals are common in nature, an aberration of genetics when some individuals in a population, like some individuals in human families, are born with a different genetic make-up, causing their skin to be without the pigment called melanin that gives your skin colour. The more pigment you have, the darker your skin is. Without melanin, you become pink. And your eyes are red.

All this sounds rather technical, doesn’t it? Shall we forget about why these dolphins around Borneo are pink, and let’s ask a different question. What does it mean to an animal that lives in a family where not all members of the family are the same colour? As we discussed earlier, all (well, almost all) animals in nature are easily recognisable as belonging to the same type by their patterns, colours and shapes. A zebra is always striped, and if one wasn’t, it wouldn’t be a zebra!

The fact that this dolphin can recognise its mother, son or cousin when they are completely different makes them rather like humans. Your brother has curly hair, and you have straight hair, but you know he is your brother. You are both human beings, and you both have the same mother and father, but you look so different! Why does this happen in humans but not in most other animals? And why is this dolphin just like us? Has it anything to do with our brain capacities?

We all have heard that humans only use 10% of their brains. This is utter nonsense! We use 100% of our brain, but just not all at the same time. Dolphins do the same, but…. A dolphin’s brain is much larger than a human’s. Human brains have three lobes, dolphins have four. A human baby’s brain is 25% of an adult human’s at birth, and reaches about 80% in three to four years. A dolphin baby’s brain at birth is 42% of its mothers, and reaches 80% in 18 months.

What scientists do know is that brain size and brain growth are two factors in developing intelligence. This we know for sure. We can then conclude that both humans and dolphins are exceptionally intelligent creatures. Who knows, the dolphin may even be more intelligent that humans? Can this therefore perhaps be an explanation? Highly intelligent creatures do not have to look exactly the same? I am grey, but my baby can be pink, says mummy dolphin. I am short and fair, but you can be tall and dark, says daddy to his handsome son!

Science hasn’t discovered the answer to this question yet. We expect someday they will find out. And then they can move on to the next question…. the dog must be exceptionally intelligent too, wouldn’t you say?    

china_640Chinese