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  1. #1
    Mmmm, Bowling...... mobs00's Avatar
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    A photo expedition to one of Thailand’s greatest National Parks

    About a year ago I had the opportunity of a lifetime; my friend Bruce who is a wildlife photographer here in Thailand asked me if I wanted to go on a shoot with him in the Thung Yai Naresuan World Heritage site. The only way to get a permit to enter the park is with special permission from the office of the Director General for all National parks in Thailand.





    Map of the region


    Sai Yoke – Kanchanaburi Province – June 10, 2007

    We left Bangkok early this morning and are headed out to Kanchanaburi to pick up the guides who will be helping us during the week. Tonight we will spend the night at Wade’s house in Sai Yoke N.P.

    Recently Bruce camera trapped a tiger up on the hill behind Wade’s house. Unfortunately hunting and poaching is still a problem here and tonight I heard a few gunshots in the hills.



    View from Wade's house


    We needed to take a boat across the river to his house. Luckily it was the dry season still.


    Khao Laem N.P. – Thung Yai - June 11, 2007

    We left Wade’s house and picked up the rest of the boys then began the journey to Thung Yai. About 2km into Khao Laem N.P. we stopped to rearrange the gear.









    We continued on for another 1.5hrs and arrived at the headquarters of Thung Yai.












    From here the road gets very rough and is mostly uphill through thick jungle. It’s a small dirt track only big enough for one vehicle.







    I was warned that it is going to be a bumpy ride but I had no idea it was going to be like this.



    This mud hole was about 18" deep.




    The gate in front of this road was closed. I was a bit curious as to where it went but was not going to find out. I sure did look like an easy meal out here in tiger country and later I'll post some footprints I came across walking down a trail.






    We make it through the mud and get to the first station 20 km inside the park; it took 2 hours to drive this far.

  2. #2
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    Nice thread. Great pics. Keep 'em coming.

    Green on its way !!

  3. #3
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    melvbot's Avatar
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    Great stuff. This is the sort of thing we all love. More pics to come I hope

  4. #4
    Mmmm, Bowling...... mobs00's Avatar
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    Thanks, I've got loads more and will upload them this afternoon.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by melvbot
    Great stuff. This is the sort of thing we all love. More pics to come I hope
    That's for sure, great effort mate!

    *I almost feel bad about taking the piss outta ya earlier when you posted about not being able to post pics until you had 5 posts, well this was worth waiting for!

    Greened already!

  6. #6
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    Great stuff MO: thanks for the effort...looking forward to the rest...

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    Thanks. And regards to Bruce.

  8. #8
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    Great start. I look forward to this.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobs00 View Post
    Thanks, I've got loads more and will upload them this afternoon.
    Well we made it through the mud and now we are stuck at an isolated home.

    Come on now, don't leave us hanging.

    *thoughts of Jason*

  10. #10
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    Nice to have a bit of suspense, posting all the pics at once doesnt leave much to come back for.

  11. #11
    Mmmm, Bowling...... mobs00's Avatar
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    Sorry for the wait.......



    Thung Yai – June 12, 2007

    I woke up at first light and decided to walk around. At this point I was still too scared to wander off alone so I ate breakfast and helped clean and ready the camera traps.


    The sounds in the jungle are incredible. Birds, monkeys, deer that bark like dogs and insects. The bugs are almost deafening and constantly making noise.






    After this I walked behind the camp and found a small game trail leading down a hill. I finally got some balls and took the trail.






    The trail made its way down until it came to an area where giant old growth trees stood. Thung Yai is one of the only places in Thailand that has never been logged. Some of the trees here were 200 feet high and must have been 10-15 feet in diameter.


    (if you look hard, to the right there is an old tree stand still there. I looked and there was no way I was going up it.)

    The trees here are so tall and the canopy is so thick it blocks out most of the sunlight hardly anything can grow on the jungle floor. All around this area was thick, dark jungle.


    Last edited by mobs00; 17-07-2008 at 03:40 PM.

  12. #12
    Mmmm, Bowling...... mobs00's Avatar
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    There were monkeys jumping around in the canopy but they were too far away to get any shots.

    I walked around a bit and found a small mineral lick in front of the large tree pictured above and decided that would be a good spot to hide to take some shots the next day.




    I went back to camp and we set out to ready a few camera traps near a large mineral lick.




    Here is Wade setting up one of the camera traps.





    The finished trap ready to shoot. It uses a motion sensor to take the photos.


    The mineral lick is massive and there is animal sign everywhere. Mineral licks are just a place where minerals (mainly salt) rise to the surface of the ground with moisture. The animals all gather here to lick or eat the mud for nutrients.






    This is a track from a Gaur. A giant bovine it is actually the biggest species of wild cattle in the world.






    Unfortunately I never got a shot of one but I found the above on the net.

  13. #13
    Mmmm, Bowling...... mobs00's Avatar
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    And here it is. The park rangers brought us to a site where there have been signs of Tigers. I knew there was a reason I didn’t want to go off alone. The prints were huge!











    Tigers are one animal I may not be ready to take a close up of.



    This is the type of grass that lined the roads and trails. It is so tall anything could be hiding in there.

  14. #14
    Mmmm, Bowling...... mobs00's Avatar
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    After setting up the traps we went back to camp.




    The roads are so gouged and torn up in the park. There is a village near the end of the park about 100km in. These people were here before the park was established and still get to use the roads. They are one of the main reasons the wildlife is disappearing due to poaching.




    I went back to the clearing I found and set up for some shots. I sat in the small indent between the roots on the left side of the pic.






    This is a pic of the small salt lick.






    Looking out from my spot.



    So I am sitting here near dusk and it is dark anyway due to the canopy. All of a sudden I here something coming towards me from behind. I have my back to the tree so I can’t turn to see. At this point I am questioning whether or not I should have done this. I am alone and just saw tiger tracks. Out of the corner of my eye the animal starts to come into focus. It is a muntjac or barking deer; thank god. I try to turn slightly but it must have seen me and barks then runs off.




    I got a few shots but they were pretty blurry. The above photo I got off the net. They are small for deer; about the size of a large dog.






    After this I walked around. This is a pic of a Cycad, its one of the oldest plants in the world.





    This area had sink holes all over the place. I am not sure what caused them but it could be from the root system of long dead trees finally rotting away.





    These are some of the largest leaves in the world. I don’t know what they are called but I have seen them all over Thailand.







    Although I have never seen them this big.








    These ones were about 6 foot long and 4-5 feet in width.






    It was getting dark now so I headed back to camp. Tomorrow we’ll come back here to set up a camera trap.

  15. #15
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    Brilliant thread to introduce yourself. Green on the way.

    Btw the leaf appears to be that of the Alocasia robusta
    Last edited by Propagator; 17-07-2008 at 09:34 PM. Reason: spelling

  16. #16
    Mmmm, Bowling...... mobs00's Avatar
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    I probably should have posted this first but here is some background info on the park and region. I took the pic below at the main headquarters 40 kms inside the park. There is a 6 foot high monument with this placard on it.





    Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sancuary, the natural world heritage. Thungyai is the heart of the western forest complex, which is comprised of 17 forest regions, situated in western Thailand along the Tranao Sri Mountain Range, near the Mayanmar border. It is called "western forest complex" because its boundaries extend through 5 provinces--Tak, Kampaengpet, Uthaitani, Supanburi and Kanchanaburi—and collectively protect 11.7 million Rais (approximately 4.4 million Acres) of forest. This is the largest and most important forest tract remaining in South East Asia with an intact ecology and a watershed that provides drinking water to thousands of Thai people.

    In 1 square metre of Thungyai forest, there are more than 5,000 species of bacteria. In 1 square kilometer, there are more than 10,000 species of insects. Thungyai is also home to large proportion of Thailand's wildlife species: 153 of 258 mammal species, 400 of 930 bird species, 188 of 500 fish species, 89 of 313 reptile species, and 41 of 106 amphibian species. The Thungyai Forest can be compared to the Amazon Rainforest of South America because it supplies oxygen to southeast Asia and moderates flooding during the rainy season.


    Source: Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary :[at] The World Heritage : WFCC : Western Forest Conservation Club

  17. #17
    Fag an bealac!
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    Interesting thread, well done.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Propagator View Post
    Brilliant tread to introduce yourself. Green on the way.

    Btw the leaf appears to be that of the Alocasia robusta

    Not sure about that Props - looks more like the lesser known

    "Fuckitforgotmyumbrellara"

    Agree it s a great thread !

  19. #19
    Mmmm, Bowling...... mobs00's Avatar
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    Again I woke up before the sun but out here you go to bed at around 7pm anyways because after dark there is nothing to do.






    We set up another camera trap and then left for the main HQ which is around 40kms inside the park.




    Take a look at this tree. There was an eerie feeling in this area and this tree just stood out. Any ideas as to what kind it is?






    The road here is less travelled and therefore much rougher. It took 3 hours to travel 20 kms. The truck kept bottoming out and skidding down the hills.

  20. #20
    Fag an bealac!
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    You should have tried starting the engine in the truck, having a few little men pulling you around on a bit of rope is always gonna be pretty slow.

  21. #21
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    Great thread Mo and I am very jealous. I was up there end of 2006. Love the place and studied the work of Seub Nakhasathien many years ago now and was great see the statue of the great man in the park. A few pics of my trip there are here (Wayne Kerr's Isaan Sojourn). The tiger prints you shot are bloody huge .

  22. #22
    Mmmm, Bowling...... mobs00's Avatar
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    We get to the Headquarters and I take a look around. This is the original HQ but as it is so far in that a few years ago they moved it to the entrance.







    This station is much nicer with about 6 buildings. There are even flushing toilets!







    This is our new house for the next couple of days.







    The house we stayed in last night was just concrete and tile. Tonight I get to sleep on a wood floor which is actually more comfortable and a whole lot warmer.








    So it looks like if I wander off it’s going to be a hell of a long way to anywhere! There is only one road through here and I’m on it. Needless to say, I never went more than a km from camp.







    Sompon cooking dinner. Some bushes, roots and a fish he caught with his bare hands were on the menu this evening.

  23. #23
    Mmmm, Bowling...... mobs00's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flash View Post
    You should have tried starting the engine in the truck, having a few little men pulling you around on a bit of rope is always gonna be pretty slow.

    We were trying to conserve fuel. It worked great when we were going down hill but on the up the boys found it difficult.

  24. #24
    Mmmm, Bowling...... mobs00's Avatar
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    Here are some more photos of the headquarters.


















    The HQ is in the middle of the jungle. They cleared all the small growth and left the large trees. They did an excellent job designing the layout and the rangers do a great job maintaining it.








    This evening I was trying to get some sleep and all this commotion and noise was coming from under the floor. I go outside with my camera and this is what I find. Look at his bulge.





    I look under the house and right under where my head was there is this birds nest. Doesn’t take much to figure out what happened.





    Seems he left a snack for later though.








    I don't know how he did it but there he is climbing vertically up the tree.

  25. #25
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    Tonight we saw the only other group so far in 3 days. The editor on National Geographic Thailand was doing a 2-3 week trip for an upcoming issue on the two parks; Thung Yai and Huai Kha Khaeng. He saw some of Bruce’s work and offered to publish some in the magazine. Bruce is one of the few people who have ever photographed an Asian Tapir swimming in the wild. It will be the cover of his new book to be released within the next month or two.

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