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Banteng - picture of the month
Picture of the Month

Picture of the Month - Banteng

This month's winner is Jonathan Feteke's image of a female banteng with calf (Bos javanicus) resting in the early evening light at the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary. You can read more of how Jonathan took the photograph by clicking here

"The world population of Banteng is unlikely to be more than 8,000 and is quite possibly fewer than 5,000 animals. No subpopulations of more than 500, and only 6–8 subpopulations of more than 50 animals, are known, with 4–5 on Java and 1–2 in Thailand (S. Hedges pers. comm. 2000; Pudyatmoko 2004).

A once fairly widely distributed species, it is now largely reduced to small isolated populations, most of which are still in decline. In Thailand there are two populations thought to contain over 50 individuals, in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary and Kaeng Krachan National Park. Both areas are under active conservation management." [Source IUCN]

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onflipflops's Avatar
onflipflops replied the topic: #2200 26 Aug 2014 23:47
Nice report, Jonathan!
Too bad not everything worked out in your favour.
It reflects my experiences in this park. On many of my visits there was some sort of group around, often students, occassionally 'VIP' guests of the big boss.
Since there is not much to do, even if there is just one other group in the park, it could ruin your plans. They always go to the first tower, Haw Nok Yeung. I think it is the most productive for Banteng, but I have seen this species at all three towers. When these groups visit, you are either not allowed to go, and even if you are, it is the question if you really want to. Though, the students usually leave early, 16:30, so that means there are still 2 hrs of light for things to get quiet and animals to get back. On my last visit Banteng came out as early as 14:30, that coincidently was exactly the time when we walked out of the forest under the tower. I was surprised to see the Banteng that early, and they were just as surprised and ran off. But they came back a couple of hrs later.

Typically Thailand! that the employees of the bank are allowed to just walk around in the clearing. The rangers are not afraid to tell us what we can not do, but they won't dare to say it to bank workers ;) . Time to get a job at a bank, haha

And often the home of the tiger trail is walked by these groups and that indeed includes walking into the clearing to the mudpool/ salt lick.

The only place that seems to stay clear from these groups is the Haw Thon Peung, the second tower. Not sure which ranger you've asked, but I've had a similar reply in the past from one of the rangers. A ranger that instead accompanied us to the Haw Nok Yung, 1st tower, but wanted to leave at 16:30 and did not let us stay longer. I've learned not to ask him anymore, haha. Though, I have to say he was the most cautious when walking up to the tower and when staying in the tower. But leaving at 16:30 is just way too early IMO.

You need patience, and swallow a lot of frustrations when visiting this park, haha, but still I believe it is worth it!
I'll be back there in a couple of days.

BTW, I think the rabbit is a Burmese Hare, but I might be wrong... I've seen it run off a couple of times, but did not get to photograph it.

Looking forward to your images!
Paul T's Avatar
Paul T replied the topic: #2202 27 Aug 2014 08:37
Great trip report and info, Jonathan! Keep em coming!
jonathanbkk's Avatar
jonathanbkk replied the topic: #2205 27 Aug 2014 15:05
Yes I have some experience with Rangers over the years and funny how the same lines come out from them. The Elephants always seems to be the default, but once did get Cobra nests as an excuse, that was different. I seem to get unlucky with talkative rangers or ones that cant sit still in towers, consequently not seeing much. While on trails I have sometimes had to ask if we could be "more quiet" but that rarely works long. The Ranger at Thon Peung was a very nice informative guy though I must say, brought him food on the second day for all his help.

For the Banteng at Nok Yeung the first day they appeared at 1:30, about an hour before the rain started and then again towards 4:30. They were scared off by the Double Decker tour bus honking its horn on the way out the first time. Second day they didnt show up at all due to them repaving the roads and all the heavy machinery involved in that process (roads looked fine to me). For Thon Peung they were there when we arrived at 8:00am which was surprising, both second gate rangers said "there is nothing to see at Thon Peung" on top of them remarking about fallen trees in the road

Heads up and you may already know but they are ramping up for the big party this weekend at HKK in honor of Khun Seub and they are expecting possibly hundreds in attendance. There was a lot of basic maintenance going on when I left on Tuesday for it starting on and around the 29th of this month.

I do believe you are right on the burmese hair, funny part was I thought I had inadvertently caused an issue with the Jackal and the Hare while shining a light on both, luckily it didnt trigger a hunt response nor affect one to my knowledge

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