Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Endau Rompin National Park

Endau Rompin National Park, Kampung Peta - 7/6/2008 - 9/6/2008

How does Endau Rompin National Park came to birth
Endau Rompin being identified in 1976-1980 the 3rd Malaysian Plan as the proposed site for the second National Park in peninsular Malaysia. This place is poorly explored, not much scientific information has been obtained then. Moreover at that time this patch of lush forest is also going through on heavy logging activities.

After a great lengthy discussion over the years an official permission to carry out scientific expedition was being obtained from Johor and Pahang state governments. In the initial stage there is no fund existed for this expedition exploration. The MNS president who was also the President of FRIM then makes the first move. He feel that in order for it to be a successful expedition it must involve more peoples and allow them to feels and witness themselves of the great diversity of flora and fauna found within.

On Apr 30,1985 Dr Kiew who was being appointed as the expedition leader lead a few others went in to select a site for the base camp. To officiate this Heritage Scientific Expedition with only Rm10,000 initial funds from MNS. On June 2 1985, our first PM Tunku Abdul Rahman flagged off 3 vehicles from his residence to Endau Rompin for this Herritage Scientific Expedition. This marked officially the start of the Scientific Heritage Expedition. As the news spread contributions of cash in kind, canned food, toiletries, useful tools and as well as loan 4WD pours in to facilitates this big nation expedition. Over the one year (1985-1986), the base camp is constantly being flood in by peoples. Scientist, school children, universities students and many more volunteers to conduct short and long-term experiment, nature photography and collecting specimens of fungi, soil, rocks and as well as listing of animals that can be found in Endau Rompin being lead by some appointed expedition leader/scientist.

The Landscape of Endau Rompin
Today this Endau Rompin National Park is covering an area of 48,906 hectars or 800 sq. km. It is one of the few remaining lowland forest in Malaysia. As one travelled on the Jeep Track (56km from the Kahang Park office) leading to the Park in Kg Peta, you would noticed that a long stretch of oil palm plantations, secondary forest, Orang asli settlements at kampung Peta. This remote orang asli (aboriginal) settlement in Johor are the Jakun or could refer as orang hulu. This National Park have rocks formation dating back in 248 million years, it comprises of some sandstone plateu, waterfalls, rivers (selai, Jasin & Endau), pristine rainforest, secondary forest and a heath forest, rubber tree plantations. Endau-Rompin is mostly hilly with some prominent sandstone plateaus. It also happens to be the watershed of several rivers such as Endau River, Selai River and Jasin River.

What can be found at Endau Rompin
Botanists have found many new species of flora and fauna along the stream and on the nearby hills in Endau-Rompin National Park. The most spectacular of the discoveries of this endemic fan palm species Livistona Endauensis which seems to dominating plants on the plateau of Gunung Janing Barat. Others interesting plants is the walking stick palm Phychorapis Singaporensis. Besides this is also have many varieties of toadstools/fungi, orchids, herbs and medicinal plants.

This lush and relatively untouched remaining tropical lowland rainforest is also the housing the large animals. Tigers, elephants, wild boar and the sumatra rhinoceros which is highly protected and endangered can be find here. Researcher also found this forest also is the home of the world smallest dragonfly (Nannophya Pygmea). Regarding birds, Endau-Rompin is home to over 250 species of birds ranging from hornbills, Argus Pheasant, Eagles to the smaller passerine birds.

Up to date there still lies numerous hidden treasures waiting to be discovered from here. There are still conservationist/researchers visit this national park and off and on they would have new discoveries of plants, insects, frogs and mammals. The diversity of the habitats and species found here is of major conservation significance.

More details about this place can be found at Important Bird Area Factsheet at.
For Region pls choose Asia and Country Malaysia, then look at Endau Rompin.

What are the interesting site.
Part of Endau-Rompin's attraction is that the park is intrinsically tied up with numerous legends and myths handed down through the years. One such legend is that of Upeh Guling, which is located midway to the Buaya Sangkut waterfall. This Buaya sangkut waterfall got his name from the Orang Hulu Legend of it used to lived a crocodile above the waterfall. One day it went down river and it was stuck and trapped by rocks.

The heath forest is sill consider a mystical/scared place by the orang hulu. It could be they realised that the vegetation in the heath forest is much different. Heath forest is a type of tropical moist forest found in areas with acidic, sandy soils that are extremely nutrient-poor. For such conditions you would notice dominated by trees of small trunk diameter or stunted plants. For such low nutrient soil the carnivorous Pitcher plant is the best surviving plants.

Upeh Guling is another mystical place where the cascades gush force from the waters downwards causes the softer rocks to wash out and over the years some pools "bath tubs" are form.

Sungai Kinchin and Sungai Kemapan is the fishing ground if you are interested in fishing. Padang Tujuh is the site of vast varieties of bonsai trees, where Kelapa Gading Cave which is 25 metres high, is situated in the midst of a waterfall.

How to get there.
As this National Park is only established recently the road access to it (about 56Km) is not a nice roads compare to out 1st National Park. For Endau Rompin there are two entry points to the park kampung peta and Kampung Selai. It is preferably arranged 4WD transfer to the park from the Park Office, this is due to the rough stretch of 56km would be too much to be bear by a normal car. The 4WD would travel along the dirt tracks that is used to be the old logging track pass by rubber, oil palm plantations, orang asli settlement. This rough journey on the road takes 2 hrs.

To head to the park office in Kahang
by own vehicle
Use the North South Highway exit at Ayer Hitam, proceed and follow the road direction to Kluang/Mersing. That would leads you to Kahang town which is the midway to Mersing.The Endau Rompin National Sign Board would leads you to the Park office at 11, Jln Bawal 1. Tmn Kahang Baru. 86700 Kahang, Kluang. Johor Tel: 07-7882812 Fax 07-7882813 which is on the ground floor of a 2 story shop lot. Entry permit and registration need to done at this park office.

If you are driving on the highway with the speed of 80/90 kmph from Sg Besi toll to Ayer Hitam would takes 3.5 hrs. Ayer Hitam to Kluang - 40 mins and from Kluang to Kahang - 45 mins.

by Train
From Kuala Lumpur Sentral Train Station, there are daily train stops at Kluang. Prior arrangement need to be made with the Park staff to transfer you to the national park.

By bus
From KL get to Kluang. Kluang is one of Johor's main transportation junction. Buses are frequent from JB to Kluang. From here, grab a taxi to Kahang. Make prior arrangements with the park officer at endau rompin national park on transportation from Kahang into the park.

There is no other accomodation beside what is being provided by the Park. There are a few types of accomodations to suit everyone. You can choose from dormitory, family chalet, standard chalet and camping.

For more information, please contact: National Parks (Johor) Corporation. JKR 475, Jalan Bukit Timbalan,80000 Johor, Johor Darul Ta'zim, Malaysia. Phone : 07- 223 7471 Fax : 07 223 7472

My trips reports
Day One 7/6/2008
The journey from KL to kahang park office was a smooth one despite the weather condition is not a very promising for field trip. At 10:09am while all of us in the trip leader's car car dwell in a deep conversation. Suddenly a loud "pupppf" sound... OOps the windscreen start to crack into a fish net/spider's web design.. This was due to a small stones hit the windscreen. The driver is going through a little bit pressure then as the view is very much obscure. He quickly slow down the speed to 50/60km per hr. Anyhow we managed to make our way safely to the park office at Kahang. Once reached there I quickly walked into the park office to request assistance from the park staff to source out which nearby shops that this about to shattered windscreen can be replaced. To my surprise I saw a familiar face the park manager whom I first met in year 2005 at Hutan Lagenda another site of the Johor Park which he previously was based. Unfortunately there is no car workshop that would be open until Monday in this small town.

After a quick lunch and registration all 24 of us are were assigned to five 4WD to transfer us to the National Park. It rained very heavily through out the 2 hrs journey. The jeep track (laterite road) was wet and slippery for sure can't be accessible by the normal vehicles. It continues to pour even when we reached the park. I do recall all of them very excitely got down to step on this 2nd national park once we reached there even though it was raining very heavily except 3 person. I'm one of them. Through this journey I have learn how important to pack our clothings into a plastic bag before re-pack it inside the luggage bag due to the condition of the road that this 4WD have to go, it may have have loosen certain parts. This would enable rain water to sip through. A few of our teammates ended up having wet clothings. The humidity of this forest may need longer time to dry up the wet clothings.

The journey by the 4WD you would notice that you would travel on a few bridges. About reaching to the Park a wooded bridge due to the big monsoon flood has washed it away. The local forks together with the park staff temporary erected a floating bridge made of large -diameter bamboo lashed together with thick ropes to enable crossing of this river. With this condition of course it would not a suitable terrain for a normal car. However it seems that a new and solid bridge would be ready by this november.I opt for a bed space in the dormitory. We seems to be living luxuriously in this clean nice big dorm. During our visit the ladies dorm the 1st night we only have 4 of us. I have in mind to have a harder bed, therefore it is one of my brilliant ideas to stack up 2 mattress.. anyhow it does not work. I wish I can lay the mattress on the ground but it is the pathway. For 2 night I seems to sleep like a log hardly turn and toss.
This is the toilets and bathroom meant for the dormitory, area for female and male. NO hot shower but in terms of cleanliness I can rate it "A+".Every bed space in the dorm are equip with a locker. This remind me of my school days where I stay in a hostel for a period of time.If exploring nature is not your cup of tea and you discoverd it is too late to turn back cause definitely you cannot trek back 56km back to the main road. This civilised domestic cat could be your playmate. The canteen takers have a few more others for your choice. :- I found this creature crawling on the road. Moth do comes by as well.. This I found it resting at the window of our dorm.
Kak Noor found this while she had a walk to the orang hulu settlements. Beside this she saved a river terrapin from the cooking pot by purchasing it and later releasing it at a safer place.
The 1st day we are having free and easy programme. Even though it is still raining many of them could not wait to get out to the field to clock their lifers and see more birds. Some put on the raincoat and umbrella walking up and down with their binoculars. I'm not afraid to get wet after the most unforgettable experience I had when I trek down from mount kinabalu a few years back. I do recall that day it rained very heavily the trail seems to be a small ravine, slippery. I wore 2 layer of clothings and pants as well as I have my rain-coat on. I was still shivering in cold then. Nowadays it is the equipments that I lug around my camera could not withstand rains, therefore I find a nice shelter spot to wait for birds to come by. I noticed this..AAArh what do you all think it should be ?
I noticed this Saraca (Gapis) tree blooming, there are 2 spp of Spiderhunter seems to frequent here (Grey Breasted Spiderhunter, Little Spiderhunter).By position myself at that shelter, I have Little Spiderhunter, Ruby Cheeked Sunbird, Cream Vented Bulbul, Yellow Bellied Flowerpecker, Scarlet Minivet (a flock of them), Leafbird spp, Oriental Magpie Robin, Grey Breasted Spiderhunter.

Rained seems to subside, I started to venture out. I noticed this Yellow-Breasted Flowerpecker feeding on this big fruit. When they feeds on a smaller berry they would pick it up in their beak and squeeze out the juice and they will discard the skin away. For a berry in this size it takes a small nibble at a time.

Another small nibble. It takes it time enjoying it's meal.
Besides this Yellow Breasted Flowerpecker, I also sighted a Rufous-Tailed Tailorbird. The sun is about to set, lighting is getting lower I packed off and get ready for dinner. The menu for our dinner catered from the Park's Caterer is chicken rice,fruits and vegetables. The rice cooked with a few spice looks very appetizing and smell good, I have never tasted rice cook in this manner. To my surprise I have never seen a chicken over cooked in this manner as well. Fried Chicken marinate with honey. The sugar content would turn black and burn under very hot oil. Haiyah ..she should consult us on the way how the chicken should be cook Arh... Despite all this we just finish whatever laid on the table.

After dinner we have a short briefing by our trip leader on the assignment of members into a smaller group and introduced them the field trips leader. I'm one of the field trip leader :-). After that our trip leader wish to show us Buffy-fish Owl where most of the time it would frequent at a certain spot. All 24 of us marched down... well chances of seeing an owl with so many is certainly a very slim chance. No Owl ..time to retired for bed..

Day two 8/6/2008
I was suddenly awake at about 5am. I heard someone said this statement " The Buffy-Fish Owl is there.. ". I quickly grab my pair of spectacles, my birding gears still in my pyjamas rush to the site. Buffy Fish Owl perched majestically on a branch. This is my second sighting of a Buffy-Fish Owl, unfortunately the lightings is too low for me to capture any record shot of this owl.

Johor Park never fails to extend great hospitality to me in every of my visit to their parks. Thank you very much from the deep of my heart. To safe us the energy from walking up to NERC a 4km walk per way, the park staff ferry us to the spot. The 1st batch of peoples climb into this lorry at about 6:30am. I and some others friends took the second trip.
Birding can be done along this jeep track. I wonder what deep discussion there are into. :-)
This is one of the spot at NERC. NERC would be open only after it is fully furnished. We likes the environment here. We told the park manager that we would be coming back again but he have to arrange to accomodate us at NERC.
Me and my teammates trek down back to the Visitor Complex as some of them wish to be at the lunch table at 12noon. It was a glommy wet day, we have drizzle off and on. Most of the time I have to put a black big plastic bag over my gears to shield it from rain. Along the way we have Drongo Cuckoo, White Rumped Shama, Moustached Babbler, Maroon Woodpecker, Scarlet Minivet, Spotted Fantail, Blue Winged Leafbird, Dark Throated Oriole, Stripe-Tit Babbler, Hairy Backed Bulbul, Banded Woodpecker, Grey Bellied Bulbul, Rufous Piculet, Yellow Breasted Flowerpecker, Dark Necked Tailorbird, White Bellied Yuhina, Crested Serpent Eagle, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Rafles Malkoha, Black-Capped Babbler. I still can remember very well as I'm about to have a good look at a Babbler suddenly pop out to the road. The lighting of that time is quite low, but looking at this jizz of the bird my brain map it to the bird that was my lifer at Burmese Pool, Taiping. I suspect that bird it is the Black-Capped Babbler. Unexpectedly another bird fly in an perched very nicely at the dry twig that lied on the ground. I do recall very vividly that the bird have white head, brown body... it is not the white headed munia... AARRRH I got a lifer a White-Hooded Babbler. Lifers only comes once a while for me. Unfortunately I did not managed to take any of it's photos but I console myself that I have to leave it to another time where I met up with this species again.

Along the way we noticed somewhat like a destroyed bird nest, trampled vegetation and some uprooted wild ginger plants. Well my friends their mind are all flooded with everything related to birds. I looked at it I do recall saw somewhat similar to this at Panti Forest. I do recall this Thai birder educate me "this is elephant dung...ok.." This is a fresh looking dung... What dung do you think it is.. cow...? Buffalo ?Just halfway back to the Visitor centre, our team being the first team who trek back heard snapping sound (Peet.. PEET ... PAT.. PAT), shrub moving vigorously, trees moving as well. OOOh my we have wild Elephants just about 11-12 feet away from us only. There is only one layer of low shrub that separate us from them. None of us scream.. I did not either. We instruct each other in our team to walk off cause we would not know weather this animals would charge out. I dare not have any direct eye to eye contact with this herd of wild elephants.. I walked as fast as possible.. I keep remind myself I should not be running and keeps uttering a small prayer to GOD.. God. Almighty please help to keep them there 1st.. don't let them come out.. I really scared. If you asked me now how many wild elephants are there ... I not sure .. maybe 3 maybe 4 . All I know I have a small glimpse of their greyish body and suspect that they are Asian Elephants.

After we walked away from that spot, we heard of a faning sound (the flight sound of a hornbill). We saw it landed and perched. We all scaned through... Aaarhh I found it .. it is here.I have a a quick look at it's casque.. and then I look at it's eyes OOOps why is so different, the eyes suppose to be red or whitish ..the casque should be long. I quickly pronounce out "Rhinoceros" to my teammates.

Well we have a short discussion about this sightings with a few pair of binoculars looking at it..
And the conversation sound something like this. Definitely is not the Great cause it does not have the wing bands.. Oriental Pied maybe.. Huh.. Oriental Piep Hornbill in this big size ? Ok maybe Oriental Pied.. but in here ?
How old is this bird ? I not sure I guess it just fledged not too long
Suddenly an Adult Rhinocerous Hornbill fly in to attend to this juvenile. We witness the Male Adult bird regurgitating berry one by one to this juvenile.
It is doing stretching exercise. I just said this statement..."wait don't tell me such a beautiful forest where are the trogon..."
And he appeared, I could not believe myself that I can called out bird..

After lunch we trek out again. I wonder what are the rest of my team mates starring at. OOh a Black and Yellow Broadbill feeding it. Female Cuckoo normally would carry their egg to drop into some spp nest and before they do that they would destroy their host nest. They would fool their host to raise their youngs as themselves. (Brood-parasitism).
To know more about brood-parasitism click on below url

OOi...Ooi you seems to be know how to preen. Aren't you too big a burder for your foster parents ?.
Another look at it..
For this Cuckoo photos I should thank Dr Fong's wife for allowing me to stand at her spot.
After this Indian Cuckoo flew off.. I saw a Green Broadbill. I pointed to my teammates.. Green Broadbill..
The White-Rumped Shama sweet melodious calls would echo in the forest as you walk along the jeep track.
A few of us continue to trek...and finaly I managed to keep track with the rest of the teams at NERC. By the time I'm there.. I quite tired. We rested for a while as the sun is about to set we trek backed to the Visitor Center. Along the way we have Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Blue Winged Leafbird.

After a good bath, we all met up at the dinner table. For tonight I eating whatever I pack along, I'm "chicken out" by yesterday chicken menu.. :-) . After dinner we sat down to share our sighting .. We have a total of 99 spp saw and heard..Someone saw Red-Billed Malkoha... AAAArh I wish I'm at the spot and wish to photograph it as well.. Well I have to be contented with my lifer "White Hooded Babbler".

The Park Manager told us that a possibilties of another species of Owl who use to frequent NERC. Well I yet to hear i'ts call and have it as lifer.. I booked a place and jump into that interest group. We reached NERC in pitch darkness, no stars, no moon.. We sat at the jetty to wait. Owl did not turn out but we have the Great Jungle Frog calls far-away. As we drive along the jeep track back to the Visitor Center,..sudenly we heard a load groan sound of a wild elephant. The park manager quickly switch off the engine of his vehicle and we wait in silence for a while.. Silent no more groans and he switch on the jeep engine to continue the journey... Haiyooh I encountered Wild Elephant twice in a day.. This time I'm not scared compares with my first encounter much earlier.

Day three 9/6/2008
Today we only have up to 11am in the field. Today the sky looks quite a promising day.. no more rain clouds. I heard a few spp of Babbler very vocal. Moustached, Horsefield's and Chesnut-Rumped Babbler. I trek up and down around the spot having in mind that one friendly Babbler of such spp appear for me to have a good looks.. but..but they are very cozy inside the shrub.

We have Chestnut-Naped Forktail, Red-Bearded Bee eater..,Bubul Spp. I walked ahead of them to another spot. As I stand at that spot I realised some movements I picked up my binoculars and scan at that clump of ferns.. AAAAArhh.. that is what I'm looking for ... brown top..chestnut rumped.
With the above Babbler.. I seems to have a satisfied field trip... I trek back to be with the rest of the teammates. Along the way we have flocks of White Bellied Yuhina, 1 Purple Throated Sunbird male, a few Scarlet Minivet.. If your interest on bird is not as great as I am.. at this patch of forest you also can find butterflies.
Below are some of the peoples in our trips.. I thank you for company. I really have a good time birding together with you all. Hope that you could accompany me again in some future trips.. :-) In the meantime takes care... I wish to thank Liung too for allowing me to share out some of the photos taken by him.
We have a total sightings of 101 spp.

Crested Serpent Eagle, Emerald Dove, Little Green Pigeon,Thick Billed Pigeon, Green Imperial Pigeon, Blue Crowned Hanging Parrot, Drongo Cuckoo, Indian Cuckoo, Plaintive Cuckoo, Chestnut Breasted Malkoha, Greater Coucal, Raffle's Malkoha,Red-Billed Malkoha,Green-Billed Malkoha, Buffy Fish Owl, Grey Rumped Tree Swiflets, Pacific Swallow, Silver Rumped Swiflets, Scarle-Rumped Trogon, Cinamon Rumped Trogon, White-Throated Kingfisher, Blue throated Bee Eater, Red- Beared Bee Eaters, Black Hornbill, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Blue-Eared Barbet, Banded Woodpecker, Crimson-Winged Woodpecker, Maroon Woodpecker, Rufous Piculet, Orange-Backed Woodpecker, White-Bellied Woodpecker, Common Flameback,Banded Broadbill, Black and Yellow Broadbill, Green Broadbill, Black and Red Broadbill, Blue Winged Leafbird, Great Iora, Greater Green Leafbird, Green Iora, Lesser Green Leafbird, Cream Vented Bulbul, Grey-Bellied Bulbul, Grey-Cheeked Bulbul,Hairy Backed Bulbul,Red-Eyed Bulbul,Spectacled Bulbul, Streaked Bulbul, Bronze Drongo, Greater-Racket Tailed Drongo, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Dark-Throated Oriole, Black-Naped Oriole, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Black-Capped Babbler, Black-Throated Babbler, Brown Fulvetta, Chestnut-Rumped Babbler, Chestnut Winged Babbler, Moustached Babbler, Rufous Crowned Babbler, Rufous-Fronted Babbler, Scally Crowned Babbler, Striped Tit Babbler, White Bellied Yuhina, White-Chested Babbler, Horsefield Babbler, White Hooded Babbler, Common Tailorbird, Dark-necked Tailorbird, Rufous Tailed Tailorbird, Chestnut-naped Forktail, Magpie Robin, White-Rumped Shama, White-Crowned Forktail, Verditer Flycatcher, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Grey Headed Flycatcher, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Black-Naped Monarch, Spotted Fantail, Rufous Winged Monarch, Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike, Black-Winged Flycatcher Shrike, Scarlet Minivets, Grey Breasted Spiderhunter, Little Spiderhunter, Long-Billed Spiderhunter, Plain Sunbird, Purple-Naped Sunbird, Purple Throated Sunbird, Ruby Cheeked Sunbird, Crimson Breasted Flowerpecker, Orange Bellied Flowerpecker, Plain Flowerpecker, Yellow Breasted Flowerpecker, Yellow Bellied Flowerpecker, Everett's White Eye, White Rumped Munia, Wreathed Hornbill.


Anonymous said...

interesting write up but where did you get the introduction part from?

Wong Chor Mun said...

I read from books, source information from internet, gather pieces of informations from the park staffs. I also have personaly steps my feet on Upeh Guling - the natural Bath Tub, see it myself the endemic fan palm, walking stick palm and some wild herbs plants

wondersf said...

I can see you moving slowly into a new hobby - Reporting
Shall I re-direct you to Stephen?

Great effort & Excellent report

Wong Chor Mun said...

:-) a reporter ? I get sack in no time cause my written english is bad. Luckly career in IT does not required good perfect english cause we use such command ren, mv, rm, userdel, useradd, admintool...

irfan said...

ha ha! great write up!! made me want to try this place next time.
irfan choo

Wong Chor Mun said...

Hi Ifran & Nora,
:-) Endau Rompin National Park indeed welcome your presence.. But..but do bear in mind that this place you cannot finish exploring in just 1 trip.