Sandakan (The Little HongKong)

May 7, 2010

Sandakan Heritage Museum

Filed under: "SANDAKAN" aka The Little Hong Kong — Cedric @ 8:43 am

Elopura or Sandakan was established on 21 June 1879 by an Englishman, William B. Pryer, who was also the first Resident of East Coast Residency of Sabah during the British North Borneo Chartered Company rule. Sandakan was declared as the second capital city of North Borneo in 1884.

The oldest company in Sandakan was set up in 1882, and St. Mary School, the oldest school in Sabah was established in 1887.

In 1883, a monthly news paper, the “British North Borneo Herald’ was published without fail up to the Japanese occupation in 1942. Telephone services started operation in Sabah in 1896 and telegraph communication between Sandakan and London in United Kingdom was actively established on 8 Apr 1897.

Sandakan town was fully developed in 1930 and flourished as an international trading centre and was known as the “Little Hong Kong of Borneo”. The first metalled road was laid down in 1899, and motor vehicles were introduced in Sandakan in 1912. Electricity supply was introduced in 1909. In 1923 the earliest international automatic telephone exchange in Sabah was installed in Sandakan, much earlier than those in Hong Kong and Shanghai. A golf club was established in 1917.

However, Sandakan town was changed after total destruction due to bombing by the Allied Forces during Second World War. After gaining independence, Sandakan was redeveloped and become modern city as we see today.

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May 6, 2010

Hornbills

Filed under: "SANDAKAN" aka The Little Hong Kong — Cedric @ 8:41 am

Oriental Pied Hornbill – Anthracoceros albirostris

Hornbills don’t have horns!

Hornbills (family Bucerotidae) are a group of birds whose bill is shaped like a cow’s horn. frequently, the bill is brightly coloured.

Both the common English and the scientific name of the family refer to the shape of the bill, “buceros” being “cow horn” in Greek.

The Bucerotidae family includes 57 species, 9 of them endemic to the southern part of Africa. They are found from Africa (south of the Sahara) through tropical Asia to the Philippines and Solomon Islands. Most species live on trees but the large ground hornbills (Bucorvus) live on the ground of open savannas.

Sabah has 8 species of this beautiful, long-tailed birds.

Hornbills are easy to identify

The hornbill’s large bill make it easy to identify in the forests of Sabah. Some species have colourful bills with horny outgrowth on the top, known as casques.

Hornbills are also large, black or brown birds with long tails. They live in pairs or small groups, but flocks can number from 20 to 50 birds!

A large flock of hornbills can also be quite noisy in the forest! Hornbill calls are very distinct between species, and bird watchers can identify hornbill species just by their calls, which can be quite loud in the quiet rainforest.

They nest in tree holes

When a female hornbill is ready to lay eggs, the male seals the tree hole with soil, leaving only a narrow vertical slit. The slit is just wide enough for the male hornbill to pass through to feed her and the chicks.

Hornbills lay 1 to 8 eggs at a time, depending on the species. Incubation period is between 21 days for smaller species and 42 days for larger birds.

The female remains in the hole until her chicks are ready to fly. In some species, the female loses her wing feathers during its stay in the hole. The same pair of birds return to the same nest every year.

Hornbill are omnivorous

Hornbills are omnivorous, mostly feeding on fruit and berries, but also eat birds’ egg, insects, and other small animals.

They often fly long distances in search of fruiting trees. Some feed on the forest canopy while others sometimes forage on the ground.

The proboscis monkey

Filed under: "SANDAKAN" aka The Little Hong Kong — Cedric @ 7:15 am

I am endemic to Borneo

The proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) is only found in Borneo, living along the banks and river mouths of large rivers, the mangroves and also in peatswamp forests. It is estimated that there are only bout 8,000 of these monkeys left in Borneo.

In Sabah, it can be found in intact mangroves and along reverbanks of large rivers in the east coast. It has even been seen further inland along the Segama River near Danum Valley! You can watch this interesting monkey in Sukau (Kinabatangan Floodplain), Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary (off mile 19, Sandakan) and in the Klias Peninsula (west coast).

The male has a large nose!

The most distinctive feature of this monkey is the male’s large protruding nose. Sometimes, it has to push its nose out of the way before putting something in its mouth. It will also swell and turn red when it becomes excited or angry.

Proboscis monkeys have grey reddish brown and orange colouring while their young have dark blue faces. Their long tails are always hanging vertically down when the monkeys are sitting on trees.

Males are much larger than females, reaching 72cm (28 inches) in length, with a tail up to 75cm long, and weighing up to 24kgs (53 pounds). Females are up to 60cm long, weighing up to 12kgs (26 lb). They have small noses.

I love to swim! 

The proboscis monkey’s lifestyle is both arboreal and amphibious because it lives in mangrove swamps, riverbanks and also dryland forests.

Like other similar monkeys, the proboscis monkey climbs well. Interestingly, it is also a very good swimmer, often swimming across streams and rivers, and has even been picked up by fishing boats in open ocean a mile from shore!

While wading, this monkey walks upright, with the females carrying infants on their hips. It will continue to walk upright after emerging on land – the only non-human mammal (with the exception of gibbons and giant pangolins) known to walk this way for any length of time.

I have a large belly

The proboscis monkey also has a large belly, as a result of its diet, its digestive system is divided into several parts, with distinctive gut flora, which help in digesting leaves. This digestive process releases a lot of gas, resulting in the monkey’s bloated bellies.

A side-effect of this unique digestive system is that it can’t digest ripe fruit, unlike most other monkeys. The diet consists mainly of fruits, seeds and leaves.

May 5, 2010

Sandakan Local Cuisine!

Filed under: Sandakan Food — Cedric @ 3:04 am

Hi Friends,

These are few best food in Sandakan town area.

For those who likes fresh and quality food, please let me know. I’ll show you there! 🙂     

Quality and Satisfaction Guarantee!

Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, Sandakan

Filed under: "SANDAKAN" aka The Little Hong Kong — Cedric @ 1:35 am

The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre was set up in 1964 to rehabilitate orphaned baby orang utan. Set in the lush 4,300-hectare Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, the Centre under the administration of the Wildlife Department of Sabah attracts tourists and researchers alike, giving them the opportunity to watch the orang utan up close in their natural habitat. A boardwalk leads you to a viewing gallery and feeding platform where the apes are fed milk and bananas twice a day at 10.00am and 3.00pm by rangers. Feeding time also attracts long-tailed macaques to the area.

While orang utan rehabilitation is still the primary goal at Sepilok, it also focuses on public education on conservation, research and assistance on other endangered species such as the rhinoceros.

Visitors are restricted to walkways. Some orang utan have become familiar with people but touching them is strongly discouraged, and while the apes are naturally shy and gentle, the more mischievous ones may try to grab your camera or hat, in which case you should call for a ranger as trying to wrestle the 200 pound apes may not be a good idea.

For the more adventurous, there is trekking through mangrove forest. As this is under the Forestry Department, you will have to get a permit from them before trekking the 5km trail which runs through Sepilok Laut. You can also arrange for a boat return or accommodation in chalets in the forest.

The Orang-Utan

Filed under: "SANDAKAN" aka The Little Hong Kong — Cedric @ 1:26 am

The Great Ape of Asia!

The orang-utan only great ape in Asia – is found only in Borneo and Sumatra, though fossils remains have been found in Java, IndoChina and China. Although the Malay name ‘orang-utan’ (‘person of the forest) has been universally adpoted, this is not the name originally used in Sabah and Sarawak. In Sabah, they are used to be called kogiu, kahu, and kisau, while in Sarawak, the name maias was used.

There are 2 species of orang-utans.

Although to us they look similiar, scientists now consider the Bornean and Sumatran orang-utans as two different species!

It is believed that they were separated from each other some 1.5 millions years ago, evolved along the way and today, are quite ‘different’ from each other. Scientifically, the Bornean orang-utan is called Pongo pygmaeus whilst the Sumatran orang-utan called Pongo abelii. However, Borneo’s Pongo pygmaeus is further divided into 3 subspecies.

The Borneo orang-utan is more common than the Sumatran, with about 45,000 individuals existing in the wild (about 11,000 in Sabah and 1,300 in Sarawak); there are only about 7,500 of the Sumatran species left in the wild.

Orang-utans are becoming incresingly endangered due to habitat destruction, and the bushmeat trade, and young orang-utans are captured to be sold as pets, usually entailing the killing of its mother.

They are more intelligent than Chimpanzees!

Some scientists are convinced that orang-utans are the world’s most intelligent animal other than human, with higher learning and problem solving ability than chimpanzees, which were previously considered to have greater abilities.

Orang-utans have been found to make rain hats and leak-proof roofs over sleeping nests. Scientists also observed that in some food-rich areas, the orag-utans had developed a complex culture in which adults would teach youngsters how to make tools and find food!

The first orangutan language study program was directed by Dr. Francine Neago in 1978. The Orangutan Language Project at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., uses a computer system originally developed at UCLA by Neago in conjunction with IBM. Zoo Atlanta now has a touch screen computer where their two Sumatran orang-utans play games.

Scientific names of orang-utans,

Species name: Pongo pygmeus (in Borneo), Pongo abelii (in Sumatra)

Sub-species name:

1. Pongo pygmeus morio – Sabah, East Kalimantan

2. Pongo pygmeus pygmeus – Sarawak, West Kalimantan

3. Pongo pygmeus wurmbii – Central &  West Kalimantan

They have intense relationships!

Orang-utans have the most intense relationship between mother and young of any non-human mammal. Mothers carry their offspring for the first 5 yrs, and may suckle them for 6 to 7 years. For the first 8-9 years of a young orangutan’s life, its mother is its constant companion. Until another infant is born, mothers sleep in a nest with their offspring every night.

Orang-utans also have the longest birth interval, of any mammal in Borneo, they give birth on average once every 8 years. In Sumatra, some females give birth once every 10 years!

They like to be alone!

Unlike other primates, adult orang-utans spend most of their time alone or, for females, with their young. Adult males are the most solitary, spending over 90% of their time alone.

The largest tree-dwelling animal on Earth eats fruit, young leaves, small insects, and tree bark. It sleeps in the tree tops as well, making a new nest every evening.

May 4, 2010

Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC), Sandakan

Filed under: "SANDAKAN" aka The Little Hong Kong — Cedric @ 8:45 am

The Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) is the gateway to getting to know the uniqueness and importance of Borneo’s rainforests.

 

Situated 23 kilometres from Sandakan Town and not too far from the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, the RDC’s main highlights are its exhibition halls, the Plant Discovery Garden, the Kapili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, environmental education programmes and a small lake for boat rides.

The RDC also gives visitors a chance to get intimate with nature through its Nature Experience programme which includes a guided walk to the Plant Discovery Garden, Rainforest Walk and indoor/outdoor activities.

As of 2009, RDC has also become the official venue for the annual Borneo Bird Festival which attracts the participation of birding enthusiasts from all over the world.

Pitcher Plants

Filed under: "SANDAKAN" aka The Little Hong Kong — Cedric @ 4:42 am

Pitcher Plants are Carnivorous!

Long time ago, pitcher plants were the subject of many tales of flesh-eaters and man-eating plants. In reality, the largest thing ever found in large pitcher plants is a large drowned rat! 

Pitcher plants comprise about 116 species distributed mainly in the Old World tropics: Madagascar, Sri Lanka, South China, Indochina, Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea, Northern Queensland and New Caledonia.

However most species occur in Southeast Asia, Particularly in Borneo and Sumatra. In Malaysia alone, about 38 species and 7 natural hybrids are known. Of these, 3 species are endemic to Peninsula Malaysia and 12 are endemic to Sabah and Sarawak.

Pitcher plants have evolved to get additional nutrients from insects that get trapped and die in the pitchers. Thus, most species are found in low-nutrient habitats like those in kerangas, peatswamps, ultramafic, limestone and montane forests .  

Pitcher Plant Facts

  • The world’s largest pitcher plant is Nepenthes rajah. It is recorded as being able to hold up to 3.5 liters of water.. or about 9 cans of soft drinks!,
  • Borneo is the centre of diversity for the tropical pitcher plants,  
  • The pitchers are not flower parts but are actually modified leaf-tips,
  • Digestive fluids in the pitchers only work on dead organisms. Frog and tadpoles have been known to live comfortably well swimming in the juices,
  • Nepenthes start as rosette plant on the ground with ‘squat’-shaped pitchers. When the plants starts to climb, the leaves are in the air and the tendril twines around a twig to support the pitcher. This pitcher is more aerodynamic in shape so that it hangs in the air without tipping over.

Insect Trap

  1. The lid evolved to shelter the pitcher from abundant tropical rain,
  2. Insect attracted to the sugary substance excreted by the inner walls of the pitchers,
  3. Waxy, slippery rim prevents the escape of fallen prey,
  4. A reserve of digestive fluids found at the base where both digestion and absorption of prey take place.

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