Photos by Md. Zulkifli
THE AMPHIBIANS OF BORNEO
Of the approximately 180 species now known from Borneo, 130 (or nearly three-quarters) are endemic to the island. Adding to the frog fauna are several species that are human commensals, and suspected to have arrived in the past century, mostly inadvertently with plants and other agricultural products, and one is an escapee from frog farms.
The most recent assessment of the world’s amphibians paints a bleak picture for the Bornean amphibian fauna. Of those whose conservation status has been assessed, 83 have been classified as threatened, representing nearly half the known amphibian fauna of the island. These figures are, of course, conservative estimates. These indicate insufficiency in current knowledge of Bornean frogs, and a need for further research on a diverse series of disciplines, from taxonomy and systematics, to ecology, ethology, and distribution.
THE INTERNATIONAL BORNEAN FROG RACE
The objectives of the Race is to draw public attention to the region’s rich amphibian fauna, and at the same time, targeting children for special educational programmes on nature conservation and amphibian protection. The Race is celebrated on the last weekend of April, since 2012, and five editions have thus been held. The event coincides with the annual ‘Save the Frogs Day’ (www.savethefrogs.com/day), a global event celebrated via 270 events in over 30 countries worldwide, to highlight conservation issues facing the world’s amphibians. The Race is organised by the students and staff of the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation (IBEC) of the Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) and the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), with the support of members from the Faculty of Resource Science and Technology, the Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia and the Sarawak Tourism Board. The event includes talks by local and foreign experts on amphibian biology and conservation, exhibition of frog-related memorabilia, workshops on frog photography and drawing and painting, both by leading experts in the region. The finale of the event is a photographic race, whereby participants race along a pre-designated forest trail, and try to photograph the most number of frogs species, the rarest frog, or photographically capture the most aesthetic image, via DSLR or compact camera, and using smartphones.