lifegonewild

For the Love of... Herps?

For the Love of... Herps?

My second week here in Malaysia began much the same way as the first ended. Sitting on the edge of the road, camera set up and trained on the little birds nest just inside the forest. After three more long days of surveys, as much as I was fascinated by the potential new discovery that we were recording with the two female Black Naped monarchs brooding the nest, I was ready to get back to Merapoh and start preparing for the special weekend ahead!

As some of you that have followed Life Gone Wild for a little while may have picked up, while I love aaaall animals, I do have a particular passion for herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians). My previous experience in Merapoh had yielded a grand total of 1 snake and a few species of frogs. Effectively nothing. So it was with great excitement that I prepared for the arrival of Dr Teo Eng Wah (Known as Vince in the photography world) and Muhammad Khaidhir Ariff (Boy), an excellent herp photographer and a snake handler (who apparently is able to free handle a King Cobra!). They were coming to help us kick off a new project looking at the herpetofaunal biodiversity of Merapoh and the Sungai Yu Forest Reserve. To say that I was hoping to increase those earlier numbers exponentially would be an understatement.

Saving the World's Only Flightless Parrot!

Saving the World's Only Flightless Parrot!

After their momentous victory in our online poll recently, birds have been all the rage here at Life Gone Wild. The bizarreness of the Hoatzin made it a great candidate to be featured here, but it meant that a host of other brilliant birds missed out on the limelight. To make up for this, we’ve got another bird that we think deserves some attention. We’re delighted to introduce you to one of the most charismatic birds around: The Kākāpō (Strigops habroptila)!

Coming Together to Save Pangolins!

Coming Together to Save Pangolins!

The extent of pangolin trafficking throughout Asia and increasingly Africa is horrifying. However, we aren’t going to dwell any longer on the saddening state of pangolins. Instead, we’re going to be looking at some of the awesome ways different organisations (and people) are attempting to save this incredible species!

Bizarre Mammals Are Being Trafficked to the Brink

Bizarre Mammals Are Being Trafficked to the Brink

Animal trafficking is one of the most significant threats to wildlife around the world. However, there is one animal that is threatened in particular by this illegal trafficking. Over one million individuals have been trafficked since 2000. Of the eight species of this animal, every single one of them has been classified as threatened with extinction by the IUCN, with the four found in Asia in the most immediate danger. The pangolin is one of the most bizarre, and now increasingly most threatened, family of animals going around. Strap yourselves in, because this is one weird family!

Tales of Camouflage and Leaf-Tails

Tales of Camouflage and Leaf-Tails

The masters of camouflage: The leaf-tailed geckos of Madagascar!

During my time at the Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute, going out and searching for reptiles and amphibians was one of the most enjoyable parts of the job. Day or night, I was (almost) always keen to get out and conduct another reptile survey. Night surveys were particularly interesting. We tended to conduct these only once a week, rather than the at times every day of the daytime hikes, which meant that these were a special (but tiring) treat

King of the Birds

King of the Birds

One of the most common, and most interesting, birds in Madagascar!

At the Madagascar Research and Conservation Institute, we didn’t just focus on reptiles and amphibians! Another big part of our research was looking at the abundance of bird species on Nosy Komba! At the time that I left MRCI, we had nearly 20 different sites across Nosy Komba that we used to conduct bird surveys.

In the Throes of Pygmy Toes!

In the Throes of Pygmy Toes!

Getting down and dirty to find some stump-toed, tiny frogs!

My favourite thing about working on Nosy Komba was being able to head out into the forest and conduct herpetofauna (reptile and amphibian) surveys EVERY DAY. At 6:30 every morning, we would leave the comfort of camp and hike to one of MRCI's 10 survey sites. Even at that time in the morning, the forests of Nosy Komba were teeming with life. We’d find an assortment of astonishing animals every walk: chameleons, geckos, snakes, frogs, birds, and lemurs, and that was before the survey!

How My Life Got Wild

How My Life Got Wild

As a child, I wanted to be many things. A sportsman, a zookeeper, a wizard, a jedi. Apart from my father however, I only ever wanted to be one person; I wanted to be Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter. From as early as I can remember, and probably earlier still if you ask my parents, I could spend hours at a time sitting down watching Steve leaping out of boats onto crocodiles, and rushing after and picking up venomous snakes. Perhaps most importantly though, I was absorbing his passion for any, and all animals.