Saturday, May 28, 2016

Bornean Frog Race a giant leap for mankind

MIRI: The frog, although not given the same status as the Hornbill in Sarawak which is recognised as the state’s bird, commands considerable attention from the global community.

While frogs are valued as food by humans with many cultural roles in literature, symbolism and religion, its population is said to have declined significantly since the 1950s.

One of the global efforts conceived and coordinated by SAVE THE FROGS! is the ‘Save The Frogs Day’ — the world’s largest day of amphibian education and conservation action.

The objective is to raise the appreciation and celebration of amphibians by people from all walks of life.

Frogs are biologically known as an indicator species and gives scientists an invaluable insight into how an ecosystem is functioning. Because it is both a predator and prey, many animals are affected by it and thus, frogs provide an insight into the health of the ecosystem.

In Sarawak, this year the ‘Save The Frogs Day’ was observed by organising the 5th International Bornean Frog Race held on April 30 at Lambir Hills National Park, Miri, one of the world’s most complex and diverse forest eco-systems.

Fifth International Bornean Frog Race

Listed on the tourism calendar of events by the Ministry of Tourism Sarawak and Tourism Malaysia, the International Bornean Frog Race was organised to draw attention to the world’s declining amphibian population and the urgent need for its conservation.

It was organized jointly by the Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), the Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation and the Faculty of Creative and Applied Arts of University Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

Among the activities held were talks, workshops, exhibitions and culminating with the ‘Frog Race’, offering a total of RM5,000 in prize money.

The race attracted 103 ‘frogging’ enthusiasts from 12 countries — Malaysia, India, New Zealand, Sweden, US, China, Germany, Pakistan, Japan, France, Holland and Curacao.

“The number of participants for the race had to be pegged down to 100 due to the sensitivity of the frogs and its habitat to mass presence of humans at any one time walking around with flash lights and cameras clicking away for a good two hours of the night,” a spokesman for the organisers told The Borneo Post.

List of Prize winners in 5th International Bornean Frog Race

A total of nine frog species were photographed during the race and only one rare species was photographed. It is the Rough-sided Frog (Pulchrana glandulosa) photographed by Hamir Kiprawi.

He consequently won the Rarest Amphibian Photographed. He also photographed all nine frog species and thus won the category for the Most Number of Amphibian Species Photographed as well as the Best Photo Taken with Mobile Phone.

Winners in the category for Best Photo Taken with DSLR camera respectively were Badiozaman Sulaiman (champion), Phui Chun Hwa (2nd); Yong Hock Chai (3rd); Compact Camera category was won by Wan Nurainie Wan Ismail.

The Special Awards for Most Enthusiastic Participant was won by Muhammad Shavez Cheema while the Conservationist Award went to Lambir Hills National Park (Kamal Abdullah/Januarie Kulis).

For the most number of amphibian species found and rarest amphibian found categories, the winner received RM1,000 and certificate each; while Best Photo via DSLR camera first to third place received RM1,000; RM500 and RM300 respectively plus certificate; for Compact Camera and Smartphone, winner took home RM400 each plus certificate.

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