Sunday, August 25

Video surveillance to record breeding of hornbills

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SEEKING NEW PARTNER: Jimmy (left) courting his new love Juliet at Piasau Camp. — Photos by Cecilia Sman

MIRI: In anticipation of new hornbill couple Juliet and Jimmy reproducing, a video surveillance system has been proposed to collect data for future reference and conservation purposes.

Chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Miri Chapter, Musa Musbah said Shell had made this request to monitor the hornbills during their breeding period.

“I would like to set up video surveillance of the nest. We have done this in the past, manually. This time, I propose an online system we can logon. This video surveillance system will enable data to be captured 24/7 and recorded on a disk. We will have a complete courting at nest, making and sealing of nest and fledgling. This is valuable data at a place where all facilities are on hand,” he said yesterday.

Musa told The Borneo Post that Jimmy had stopped mourning and switched to survival mode after new love Juliet appeared on the scene.

His previous mate Faridah was found dead after she was captured by poachers on Sept 26.

Studies show that hornbills are partners for life, so Musa had worried that Jimmy might die from hunger if he keeps mourning for her.

He said the system is not expensive to install but sponsorship is required as MNS has limited funds like pro tem Piasau Camp Nature Park Society (PCNPS) which he is vice-chairman of.

Musa is also Honorary Ranger of Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC).

“Could someone sponsor this system and connect it to Shell’s telecommunication lines? Anyone can access the cameras via his/her handphone to see the area and the birds feeding without having to go there physically.

“They can see the streaming video in real time and can save it. We do not have to give them free but sell them the password for them to see via the cameras anytime they want. This access cost is from their line,” he stressed.

Musa said the new system is expected to cost over RM5,000, including cameras, two terabytes of hard disk and related gadgets, in addition to the setting up of a black plastic sun blocking sheet along the perimeter of House 58 to reduce disturbances from joggers and visitors and activities at Piasau Boat Club.

He is optimistic that if Juliet can produce more offspring, Piasau Camp will have many more hornbills.

Faridah produced 56 offspring since 2005 but many did not survive, probably due to rampant poaching.

As of Sunday evening, the family of four was spotted at the camp: Jimmy with new mate Juliet, and Ahkaw and Ahmoi — his youngest brood with Faridah.

Older brood comprising Utet and Nong were also spotted recently.