Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Last Online
    16-03-2013 @ 03:07 PM
    Location
    The forests of Thailand
    Posts
    173

    Kaeng Krachan National Park - Part Two

    Kaeng Krachan: The Kingdom’s largest national park – Part Two

    A note to all those who followed my previous threads: some have probably wondered why I stopped posting stories on Teakdoor and the reason is simple.

    I became totally overwhelmed by several other projects including writing for the Bangkok Post, two new wildlife books in the works, a local Thai wildlife documentary plus two photographic safaris to Africa and Cambodia. I will eventually post these stories on the forum.

    I left the documentary and now am back to my former schedule. I hope everyone will enjoy the new threads and the following is a continuation where I left off last year.

    Rare animals still thriving in the protected area


    Siamese crocodile in the Phetchaburi River

    The Phetchaburi River runs through Kaeng Krachan National Park from south to north and then swings east to the Gulf of Thailand, and is an amazing waterway with many interesting wild creatures still living in perfect harmony.

    One animal stands out as Thailand’s most endangered. It is an extremely rare reptile that still lurks in the upper reaches of this waterway but unfortunately, is the last of its kind. It is the Siamese crocodile Crocodylus siamensis on the very brink of extinction and certainly one of the rarest crocodilian in the world.

    So far, only one individual is confirmed here. This creature is probably a female by the evidence of her nests found over the years up and down the river. Unfortunately, her eggs are always inert which means no males to fertilize them. Female crocodiles ovulate and lay eggs once a year whether they are fertile or not. This is one of the queer quirk’s of nature that has been documented elsewhere.



    Smooth-coated otters camera-trapped by the Phetchaburi River

    When I was doing a camera-trap survey to establish the presence/absence of wildlife along the river in 2005, the chance to photograph a Siamese crocodile became a reality. My team and I trekked from Phanern Thung ranger station at 920 meters above sea level down to the river about 250 meters, a distance of about twenty kilometers.

    A few years earlier while white-water rafting down the river, I found a fresh set of crocodile tracks, and had high hopes of seeing and photographing the estimated three-meter reptile. I was with my close friend Suthad Sappu, a forest ranger who has worked in Kaeng Krachan for more than 15 years and who is the most knowledgeable about this forest. A few other rangers made up the team.


    Crocodile haven in the Phetchaburi River


    When we arrived at the croc pool, a fresh set of drag marks and droppings was found on a sandbank. We set-up a blind across the river and then retired to our camp some two kilometers further downstream. After the two-day hike, we had a quick dinner and hit the hammocks early that night.

    The next morning, I was up at 4am for breakfast and some coffee. It was tough crossing the river several times in darkness especially with my big Minolta 600mm lens and camera, plus a tripod, camp stool and another spare camera with a shorter lens. The weather was cool and refreshing.


    Siamese croc with only its head showing

    I also carried a little bit of food and water that is essential during the day. I finally got to the blind just before dawn and settled in. The morning dragged on for a while but about 8am, a lone male smooth-coated otter showed up across river. It romped around in the sand and then dove in the river several times looking for fish before leaving some droppings.


    Smooth-coated otter diving into the river

    The otter then jumped into the river and disappeared up-river. I managed to get some very interesting shots as it swam past the blind A short time later, a lesser fish-eagle landed on a branch behind me and I fortunately had my smaller 300mm lens facing that way and got some good close-up images of the raptor. Then a big water monitor lizard showed up on the opposite bank looking for prey and quickly disappeared into the bush.


    Water monitor hunting for prey along the river

    About 11am, a familiar creature floated past the front of the blind and I immediately began snapping the shutter. Only its head was visible but the mature reptile then moved to the far corner of the deep pool. It stayed semi-submerged in the water but rose up and down where I could see part of its flank and tail. I shot several rolls of film before it dived just like a submarine and vanished.


    Lesser fish-eagle perched on a tree close to the blind

    To say that I was excited would be putting it mildly. It was the first time this crocodile was photographed through the lens. Six months previously, this same reptile was camera-trapped by park rangers further down stream that provided an incentive for me to get photographs of this extremely rare creature.

    All the work, time and money spent are well worth the effort. Also, four different species in one day was pretty good going for a budding wildlife photographer.


    Next month: More on the rare animals that live in Kaeng Krachan, and the destruction and over development that has been carried out by the park officials.



    A king cobra hunting for prey by the Phetchaburi River. Just one of the many creatures thriving in the interior of Kaeng Krachan and featured next month.



    Ten-wheeled truck and backhoe building a water tank at Kilometer 18 to provide water to the expanded camp site at Ban Krang ranger station.

    This use to be a famous bird-watching site known around the world and now completely destroyed by mindless park officials. A sad state of affairs!
    Last edited by Bruce Kekule; 09-04-2011 at 10:10 AM.

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Last Online
    @
    Location
    Chiang Mai
    Posts
    27,156
    We've missed you, though it's good to hear you have been on the move with all those interesting projects.

    Love those otter images.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Last Online
    16-03-2013 @ 03:07 PM
    Location
    The forests of Thailand
    Posts
    173
    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    We've missed you, though it's good to hear you have been on the move with all those interesting projects.

    Love those otter images.
    Miss Kit,

    Thank you and it is good to be back. It was hectic but I have slowed down a bit and I'm able to get this out. More to come but not all so rosy.

  4. #4
    Mid
    Mid is offline
    Thailand Expat
    Mid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    @
    Posts
    1,413
    nice to see you back .
    Last edited by Mid; 09-04-2011 at 05:23 PM.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat
    sabang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Last Online
    Today @ 03:44 PM
    Location
    There
    Posts
    30,794
    Excellent Bruce- always enjoy your stuff. Thanks for taking the time.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat
    good2bhappy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Last Online
    11-11-2018 @ 05:44 PM
    Location
    Klong Samwa
    Posts
    15,309
    great thread cheers

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Last Online
    16-03-2013 @ 03:07 PM
    Location
    The forests of Thailand
    Posts
    173
    Quote Originally Posted by Mid View Post
    nice to see you back .
    My pleasure. All the stuff I took on overloaded my butt and it's good to be back. I have loads to write after Africa and Cambodia. Thanks again.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Last Online
    16-03-2013 @ 03:07 PM
    Location
    The forests of Thailand
    Posts
    173
    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Excellent Bruce- always enjoy your stuff. Thanks for taking the time.
    Sabang,

    I appreciate the kind words. I will get some important stuff out there as it is becoming critical at several parks and sanctuaries and the more that know, the better the chance for the future.

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Last Online
    16-03-2013 @ 03:07 PM
    Location
    The forests of Thailand
    Posts
    173
    Quote Originally Posted by good2bhappy View Post
    great thread cheers
    good2bhappy, Nice name that. The secret to good life. Thanks for the comment.

  10. #10
    Mmmm, Bowling......
    mobs00's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Last Online
    05-09-2015 @ 03:26 AM
    Location
    Chiang Mai
    Posts
    2,161
    Bruce just left yesterday for a 2 week trip into Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary. He's going to set up all his camera traps. Maybe when he gets back he'll write a report on what we saw during that time.

    Huai Kha Khaeng is a dual Sanctuary along with Thung Yai Naresuan. I did a trip with Bruce there a few years back and here is a link to that thread.

    http://teakdoor.com/thailands-nation...-greatest.html (A photo expedition to one of Thailandís greatest National Parks)


    Here is some info on the two sanctuaries.

    http://www.westernforest.org/en/area..._kha_kaeng.htm

    Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries - UNESCO World Heritage Centre

    Stretching over more than 600,000 ha along the Myanmar border, the sanctuaries, which are relatively intact, contain examples of almost all the forest types of continental South-East Asia. They are home to a very diverse array of animals, including 77% of the large mammals (especially elephants and tigers), 50% of the large birds and 33% of the land vertebrates to be found in this region.

    The site comprises two contiguous wildlife sanctuaries: Thung Yai and Huai Kha Khaeng, alongside the western international border with Myanmar, 300 km north-west of Bangkok.

  11. #11
    Mmmm, Bowling......
    mobs00's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Last Online
    05-09-2015 @ 03:26 AM
    Location
    Chiang Mai
    Posts
    2,161
    Looks like Bruce got a pic of a Gaur in Huai Kha Khaeng



    This solitary bull gaur came in 5 minutes later to the same waterhole. A very lucky day for me as bovids are some of my favorite mammal subjects. The 'Spirits of the Forest' granted my wish.
    http://www.facebook.com/people/Lawre...ule/1400944551

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •