× Over 400 species of birds are known to occur within the Park’s boundaries, and 57 mammals. Larger mammals include elephant, gaur, sambar deer, banteng, serow, and bear, indo-chinese tiger, leopard, both common and Fea’s muntjac. Malayan tapir, white-handed gibbon, dusky and banded langurs, Asian wild dog, otter, and wild boar.

Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot

17 Jul 2014 11:02 - 22 Mar 2015 10:00 #2149 by admin
admin created the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
Kaeng Krachan National Park has been continuing to yield cryptic mammals to us .

It was late January 2014 and two local naturalists, Ian Edwardes and Paul Thompson, sat pondering their latest camera trap undertaking with the staff of the Kaeng Krachan National Park. The project had hit a few set backs in its first few months and the team, consisting of the two photographers and the magnificent KKNP team, led by Park Chief Khun Chaiwat Limlikitaksorn, were discussing how to best utilize the remaining time available. Khun Poon and Khun Suthat, of the KKNP team, had an idea to try for a secluded area of the forest on a peak between two valleys in the park's higher elevations.

It was a gamble but the site looked promising and a potential tapir scrape had been identified on the team's first recce.

The naturalists had wanted to camera trap the area primarily for leopard - they had just successfully completed a similar undertaking in the east of Thailand capturing images of a forest complex' rare wild tiger population. The presence of leopard and the outstanding vallied primary forests of Thailand's largest national park were a major draw for the pair. Kaeng Krachan represents one of the jewels in Thailand's splendid crown of national parks and sanctuaries as well as being the epicentre of the biologically significant Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex.

The Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex is of immense biological importance and located in the Indo-Malayan ecoregion. It is known to be rich in biological diversity as a result of being a meeting place of four zoogeographical subregions and four floristic provinces (Indo-Burmese/Himalayan, Indo-Malaysian, Annamatic, and Andamanese). Its importance to Thailand and to conservation cannot be denied and accordingly the process of potential World Heritage Site status began in 2011 when the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment submitted its details for consideration to the world body through the State Body Tentative List. It currently remains Thailand's only natural wonder on the Tentative List to date and it is considered by many naturalists to be the equal, at least, of those sites currently inscribed, namely: the Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries (inscribed in 1991) and; the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex (inscribed in 2005).

Its useful to consider what World Heritage Status means, as defined by UNESCO - "Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. "

and also of the criteria used, by the World Heritage Committee, to assess potential natural heritage sites:

1) to contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;

2) to be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;

3) to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.

And so the team found themselves sat in a surprisingly windy valley on a January morning deliberating what to do. They took a momentary on the spot decision to camera trap just one tree trunk in Khun Suthat's chosen location - one tree trunk that they thought may yield, just maybe, a passing tapir or leopard. And as the results from this lone stills camera are coming back, the team are all quite amazed by the results.

These results are a testement to the incredible bio-diversity of Kaeng Krachan National Park and the greater Forest Complex. And consequently to the recognition of importance of continued protection.

The team camera trapped one single spot in this particular location. A spot no more than 2 metres wide. No more than 2 meters high. One single sliver of forest, with a 2 square meter footprint in a forest complex of 5,000,000,000 square meters. 

The resultant photographs alone are a significant indicator of the world heritage criteria: superlative natural phenonama; outstanding......significant.......communities of plants and animals; significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity.

Kaeng Krachan National Park and Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex represent an outstanding and significantly important area of bio-diversity - in the team's humble opinion it represents enough significance for World Heritage Status. 

That two square meter spot yielded 23 terrestrial mammals including 5 wild cat species. Amazing bio-diversity.

We present some the photographs collected, at what the team have come to refer to as THE tree........ a single tree, in a single spot, on a single mountain side that represents the outstanding bio-diversity of the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex:

List of Species (documented passing THE tree in a six month period)

1) Leopard (Panthera pardus)

2) Sun bear (Helarctos malayanus)

3) Asian black bear (Ursus thibetanus)

4) Fea's Muntjac or Tenasserim muntjac (Muntiacus feae)

5) Indian muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak)

6) Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus)

7) Sumatran serow (Capricornis sumatraensis)

8) Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis)

9) Large Indian civet (Viverra zibetha)

10) Yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula)

12) Hog badger (Arctonyx collaris)

13) Crab-eating mongoose (Herpestes urva)

14) Masked palm civet (Paguma larvata)

15) Long-tailed giant rat (Leopoldamys sabanus)

16) Himalayan porcupine (Hystrix brachyura)

17) Asiatic Brush-tailed Porcupine, (Atherurus macrourus)

18) Wild pig (Sus scrofa)

19) Asian red-cheeked squirrel (Dremomys rufigenis)

20) Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)

21) Indochinese tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti)

22) Asian golden cat (Pardofelis temminckii)

23) Moonrat (Echinosorex gymnura)

 

 

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03 Aug 2014 21:19 #2150 by Bagheera
Bagheera replied the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
Thanks for this great insight into the work you guys have been doing down in KK.
In terms of the 22 species caught at this 'the tree' site, I notice that you haven't included images for #21 and #22, are the images usable and sharable?

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04 Aug 2014 06:22 - 05 Aug 2014 18:26 #2152 by Paul TW
Paul TW replied the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
The Asian golden cat can be seen on the front page as a thumbnail to the article (its seriously out of focus). Other one not usable.
We will continue at this site for a couple more weeks so there is still chance for it to rise above 22. Although we are going to let it rest and concentrate on our other sites with the kind support of the DNP.

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26 Oct 2014 11:51 - 26 Oct 2014 19:39 #2394 by Paul TW
Paul TW replied the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
Kaeng Krachan has been continuing to yield cryptic mammals to us but we have been quiet on this particular location for a while. We have let the area have a little rest as its in a very exposed position in the mountains and the weather was causing us all kinds of problems for access as well as technical issues with the camera system (electronics, glass optics and severe rain and wind are not a good mix when trying to set up the cam on the mountain side).

On our last visit we saw something we were not expecting, the rainy season had done its worst on the escarpment and trees had shed huge limbs all over the area. It was a shock to feel how heavy these tree limbs are when trying to clear the site, and even "small ones" required two people to move them. One of these fallen limbs had landed right on top of the camera (you can see other limbs that actually missed the camera in the pictures).

With our previous experiences of elephants, poachers, bears, insects, the weather and the elements attacking our cameras we had a good system in place and knew it would take a tank to move the camera box, so securely is it held in place with various steel paraphernalia. And the camera box was still in place despite a very serious beating and various dents and scrapes. But on getting into the camera we found the shock of the impact had moved the camera inside the box and reset the focus on the lens (to be further back) .............. we have now reset and reinstalled everything so hopefully these beauties will come back and allow us another attempt at getting their pictures.........hopefully in frame and in focus

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26 Oct 2014 21:28 - 27 Oct 2014 12:27 #2403 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
Amazing the camera survived this. Despite being out of focus, fantastic catches!
That Clouded Leopard looks so cute!
Amazing that all these cats are sharing the same habitat.

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03 Nov 2014 10:20 #2472 by Bagheera
Bagheera replied the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
What an amazing set of photographs of such rare and beautiful species of cat. Quite brilliant! You must be absolutely thrilled with these results.

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02 Dec 2014 08:42 #2545 by Bagheera
Bagheera replied the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
Just out of interest how deep into the forest is the location that the Black Leopard was snapped? Of course I don't expect specifics but just a kind of distance from Baan Krang or Panern Tung? If its sensitive then can p.m me if thats better. Cheers

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03 Dec 2014 08:56 #2548 by Paul TW
Paul TW replied the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
:) You know me better than that.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Bagheera

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03 Dec 2014 10:10 #2549 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
I stumbled upon the camera trap location a three weeks ago on a KK visit. As far as I know I did not trigger anything, at least not the DSLR's.
Of course I won't add any details, except that I was surprised to find it where it is ;) .
Maybe it's just my lack of knowledge about Tapirs, but that was probably the biggest surprise to know they visit that specific area.
I'm less surprised about the cats visiting there, but still amazing so many species share the same habitat!

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22 Jun 2015 07:02 - 22 Jun 2015 10:15 #2916 by Paul TW
Paul TW replied the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
Well it took a full year for the/a Asian Golden Cat to finally walk in front of a camera again, and we managed to cut her/his legs off, so maybe another year before we get lucky again. This is really a species I would like a good full body photo of. Its proving to be a very elusive felid.


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22 Jun 2015 12:50 #2917 by bootly66
bootly66 replied the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
That's an impressive catch .. When was it taken??

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22 Jun 2015 13:26 #2918 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
Even without the legs, a fantastic capture!
Elusive indeed. Have spend a lot of time in the jungle, but have yet to see one. One day...
I thought it is primarily a terrestial species, so you would think that with camera traps it should be relatively easy to catch.
BUt apparently it is harder than expected. Probably means low population density? Which raises the question why that is. Maybe competition with the larger cats. Or just naturally a species that has large territories? With the small average leopard territory size known from Kaeng Krachan you would think that a species this size should be able to survive in relatively small areas. Though I just read on wiki that they learned from two radio collared cats that average territory size is quite large. Not sure where the research was done. But it compared to the average female tiger territory size knwon from Thailand.
Quite surprising.
I wonder if the population will increase in a park like e.g. Khao Yai where there is little competition of other big cats. Probably only Clouded Leopard, and those probably focus more on arboreal prey, at least I guess more than the Asian Golden Cat.

Looking at the facial markings and uniform coat coloration of this species, I start to understand the wrongly depicted Flat-headed Cat on the collage of mammals of Kaeng Krachan shown at the Ban Krang camp.

Hopefully you will get some of the other elusive cat species that should occur in the park, like Jungle Cat, Fishing Cat, and Marbled Cat.
Good luck!
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23 Jun 2015 17:46 #2919 by Paul TW
Paul TW replied the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
Thanks Bootly and Flip-flops

The photo was taken May 10th.

From "all" of our captures of this species theres really only three things that they lead me to assume, even though we have not had enough captures to have any valid theories to be honest. The animals we captured on video and stills seem to have a diurnal preference and b) the animals in our captures don't prefer to walk along the trails - they all have walked across trails and lastly, c) they are active hunters of rats and mice as we have video of them doing this twice. It will be quiet for us now as the rains cause all kinds of issues with the cameras and wetness causes a lot of highlights from the flash making the pic quality poorer.

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27 Jun 2015 09:36 #2920 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
I have read that a radio tracking research on these Asian Golden Cats revealed (unexpected) diurnal activity.
Cool that your captures confirm that.
Hope to see one some day.
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13 May 2017 10:46 - 07 Aug 2017 08:52 #4411 by Robby L
Robby L replied the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
Some observations in KKC 8th to 11th May 2017

While walking the road above the 27.5 parking spot I heard the call of Blue Pitta, there were 2 birds calling one on either side of the road.

At close to the same spot I was standing watching bird movement up a large tree when I heard a noise on the road about 20m away, on looking round I saw a Muntjak that had come down from above the road. We saw each other at the same time and it fled across the road into the trees.

About a minute later another started down the bank from above the road directly behind me and when it became aware of my presence jumped back up the bank and started giving an alarm call. This call which I have never heard before was a true bark unlike the call of Muntjak I have heard in Huai Kha Kheang which is more of a squeal. So which of the 2 species is this M faei or M muntjak?

On the circuit road round the Youth Camp at Ban Chang I saw several Red-bearded Bee-Eaters and in the same tree a pair of Blue-bearded Bee-Eaters. This would have to be about the Northerly range of the Red-bearded and the Southerly range of the Blue-bearded.

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14 May 2017 13:30 #4412 by onflipflops
onflipflops replied the topic: Kaeng Krachan bio-diversity hot spot
I have only seen Fea's Muntjac from about km18 and further in the park. Also near km27 - 28 I have seen them various times. Pretty much 99.9% sure that is what you have seen in that location. Next time look at the tail which is black with white in Fea's Muntjac. but 'red' with white for Red Muntjac. Overall Fea's Muntjac appears darker color, though I have seen very dark Red Muntjacs so that is not the most decisive feature.

Maybe you have never heard a Red Muntjac properly barking, because it sounds like true barking. I have heard both species and apart from guessing based on the location I still don't dare to differentiate the two species based on call, it is highly similar.
I guess the camera trappers on this forum will know a bit more about range of both species, but I can not recall having seen Red Muntjac past km 17 - 18. Maybe Paul can comment if they have camera trapped them significantly further in.
My personal guess (based on my personal sightings) is that where the forest gets more humid and darker, the Fea's Muntjac more or less replaces the Red Muntjac. The Fea's Muntjac are actually not really rare, but it's just that the type of forest makes them not so easily seen compared to the Red Muntjac that does not shy away from more open areas and therefore becomes more visible. However if I compare my hikes in proper forest e.g. in Khao Yai with my hikes at the higher elevation in Kaeng Krachan, seeing red muntjac in proper forest (not near open areas) is equally difficult as seeing Fea's Muntjac in the forest.
And quite often you can see both species in pairs.

And about the bee-eaters.
Indeed both Red-Bearded and Blue-Bearded Bee-eaters are present in KKC. According to the bird books Red-bearded is found further North than KKC.
Blue-Bearded will probably be down to about Prachuap Khiri Khan province. Still interesting though to see both species in the same tree, I haven't seen them together. But both species are not really uncommon in KKC, I would say.

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