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sonny.royal sonny.royal

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Nature • Conservation • Travel  Documenting tropical environments, wildlife, and adventure tourism. Creative content @stickyricetravel | @fstopgear 📍Malaysian Borneo

A leopard cat (Prionailurus javanensis) along the fringes of Tabin Wildlife Reserve and plantation fields. This wild cat is a rather common and widespread carnivore species throughout Southern Asia. These almost common encounters are always a pleasure and some less skittish individuals even allow you to get a tad closer than usual. On trip with @stickyricetravel ! #wildtropics #sonnyinborneo

Some of the gang soaking up incredible sweeping views of the Tsaranoro Valley and the peaks of Andringitra National Park from the summit of Chameleon Rock, Madagascar. This vast rugged landscape that seemed endless, did a great job in making us feel rather minuscule albeit accomplished following the climb up. #FTZMadagascar

No doubt one of the strangest mammals on the planet, the nocturnal Bornean colugo (Galeopterus borneanus), and recent genetic research by Janecka et al. indicates that there is at least one and possibly several cryptic colugo species endemic to Borneo. ⠀
As you can see, they have a large gliding membrane attached to the neck and sides of their body. This membrane, which extends along the limbs to the tips of the fingers, toes, and tail, is more extensive than in other gliding mammals enabling them to travel over 100m forward in a single glide, with relatively little loss in elevation! ⠀

This colugo is endemic to Indochina and Sundaland, an area of the Asian continental shelf that includes the Malay Peninsular, Borneo, Sumatra, and Java, as well as many smaller islands. This was a nice encounter that I had not yet experienced during daylight along the Kinabatangan River, East Sabah. #wildtropics

A nicely captured photograph of myself by @theheardle (Check out his page - loads of new content rolling in from our travels throughout the year) - doing what we do best, on an endless adventure discovering a world of natural wonder in our backyards throughout Australia. We explored a section of the Border Ranges National Park in Northern Rivers, New South Wales, part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage site. ⠀

Border Ranges is recognised as a biodiversity hotspot, containing a mixture of northern and southern flora species (the McPherson-Macleay overlap) with a number of endemic, rare and endangered species. 🦎 @qldparks

Yesterday marked my birthday and I took the opportunity to appreciate the phenomenal year that has been living in Borneo, exploring far off lands, and having an amazing time absorbing every moment. Thought I would share a few shots of the one primate that excites me the most when in the forest! A species I have rarely gained a clear view of until a few weeks ago... ⠀

The North Borneo gibbon (Hylobates muelleri) is the most common gibbon subspecies in Borneo and by far the most acrobatic arboreal primate I've ever seen in the forest - a true spectacle as they swing effortlessly at ridiculous speeds! This family of around 8 were foraging in the early hours nearby the property in Tabin Wildlife Reserve, as their unique calls bounced through the awakening mist-coated jungle. They are the most important primate dispersers of fruiting trees and lianas but will also eat immature leaves and insects. ⠀

The species is classified as Endangered by the #IUCN based on an estimated population reduction of over 50% over the past 45 years due to rampant habitat loss and over-utilization. On trip with @stickyricetravel - #wildtropics #1frame4nature

Had an enjoyable day a few weeks back exploring the trails throughout the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve in eastern Sabah. Not too far through the trail we stumbled upon the ‘Sepilok Giant’ (Shorea acutissima) that is locally known as seraya runcing, standing at 65m tall. Sabah is home to the world’s tallest tropical trees, the tallest of which reaches 94.1m (shorea faguetiana) and is also in the Dipterocarpaceae family. There’s no wonder that the highest carbon stocks are located in this part of the world! 🍃#wildtropics
📷// @theheardle - featuring @fstopgear ANJA backpack

A proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) curiously motionless clinging to a tree as we slowly approached the riverbanks of the Kinabatangan River in eastern Sabah.⠀

Proboscis monkeys are endemic to the jungles of Borneo, never straying far from their associated riparian-riverine forests, coastal mangroves, and swamps. They're a highly arboreal species surviving mainly on a diet of leaves, seeds, and unripe fruits, and will occasionally consume insects as well. This species are the most prolific swimmers within the primate world, even evolved webbed feet and hands to help them outpace the crocodiles that are some of their main predators.⠀

Unfortunately, Borneo’s most threatened landscapes are home to these highly specialized primates as logging, cultivation, and settlement continues to deplete huge tracts of their habitat. Over the last 40 years, proboscis monkey populations have plummeted and now the only remaining large populations are in the Kinabatangan flood plain. Classified as 'Endangered' by the #IUCN. #wildtropics

Quietly putting down through jungle-clad river passages, watching as the mist slowly lifted from the treetops in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. The mangrove forests and floodplains along the 560km long river offer narrow corridors of refuge from encroaching oil palm plantations. It’s an incredible experience to see an abundance of biodiversity, though a bittersweet reality of wildlife encounters. 🛶 #wildtropics #sonnyinborneo

A stork-billed kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis) enjoying the morning light along the riverbanks of the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, eastern #Sabah. ⠀

This is no doubt the clearest view I've had of the largest kingfisher species in #Borneo, aptly named 'burung buaya' in Malay - which translates to 'crocodile bird' - given its notably large bill. The species is reported to be widespread ranging from India to Indonesia and generally sparse but locally common in Borneo. It perches quietly whilst seeking food, and is often inconspicuous despite its size. It is territorial and predominantly hunts fish, frogs, crabs, rodents and young birds. I noticed them to be reasonably skittish throughout the day though to gain a closer look I would suggest to try your luck during evening river cruises. #wildtropics #SonnyinBorneo

Enjoying the late afternoon light as the slowly descended below the horizon. Down along the canopy walkway @theheardle watches as giant flying squirrels glide from the treetops at the Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sepilok, Sabah | Malaysian Borneo #SonnyinBorneo

The nocturnal Inger’s bent-toed gecko (Cyrtodactylus pubisulcus) found hunting among the rainforest undergrowth during a night walk at the Sayap substation, Kinabalu National Park. #wildtropics #SonnyinBorneo

A sweet moment captured by @theheardle during a late afternoon birding session along the RDC canopy walkway in Sepilok. We saw more red giant flying squirrels than anything else! It was also the first trip where I could test out the new AJNA backpack and accessories I got sent from @fstopgear - I highly recommend any budding photographers/ adventurers to check out their gear as I'm sure you will find something of interest. #sonnyinborneo

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