Meet the Irrawaddy Dolphin

The Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) is a species of dolphin whose distribution extends from the Bay of Bengal to northern Australia. The most interesting aspect of this oceanic mammal, which measures up to 2.3 metres and weighs up to 130 kilograms, is the fact that it can also be found in large rivers, deep inside the Asian continent. The fresh waters of the mighty Irrawaddy river in Myanmar (from where it gets its common name) as well as the illustrious Mekong river in Laos and northern Cambodia are two places where these animals live in small colonies. Unfortunately… Continue reading

Cairns Council vs Flying Foxes

During my three-week stay in Cairns last year, I was delighted to discover a populous colony of Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) roosting on the trees right in the middle of the city. These enormous fruit-eating bats, reportedly numbering between 10 and 20 thousand individuals, had made their homes on several large mango trees that grow between the city’s public library and the nearby Novotel resort. Although generally quiet during the day, they become very active at dusk, turning the Cairns central business district into an incredibly noisy area where thousands of crying animals would fly over the… Continue reading

Borneo Elephants

Borneo elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis) is a subspecies of elephant found in northeastern Borneo. Their origin is a matter of dispute – there have been suggestions that the mammal was introduced to the tropical island from peninsular Malaysia, but there are zoologists who believe that they developed separately from other Asian elephant species. As just about any large animal on the world’s third biggest island, these elephants are threatened due to shrinking rainforest which is apparently disappearing at a rate of 300 football fields every single hour! The forst is replaced with palm oil plantations, a monoculture made… Continue reading