As part of Royle Safaris commitment to trying to establish small scale sustainable ecotourism centred around some of the world’s rarest and least seen mammal species; we have been sending an intrepid client of ours out to Sumatra to try and see and photograph (in fact for this client is the picture that is the sole purpose of this endeavour) the Sumatran Rhino. We made our first attempt in 2019 which was documented in a trip report such as this. This report briefly documents just the species of mammals seen (as we cannot go into details due to the sensitive nature of the rhino conservation there and the need for secrecy of locations) on the next three attempts that our client Chris has made.
Along the way there has been endless logistical nightmares, last minute decisions to go (including having to get from San Francisco to Sumatra with as little as 48 hours notice), heavy rainfall, no rainfall and no water in some of the patrol stations (which is crucial as there is often no water in some of these locations without rainfall and the length of these hikes is too far to carry all of the necessary water along with you), a very close call with the venomous Indo-Malaya mountain pit-viper, a bout of covid (in December 2019, before the world knew the reason Chris was so sick), plagues of bees, being treed by a tiger for no less than 3 days and nights, not to mention the sometimes 12-14 hour hikes through some of the thickest jungle (covered in nasty rattan) in the world.
But all of this pain and heart ache has resulted in (as of February 2022) a sighting of a Sumatran rhino. In fact in the 4 times we have been in this place there has been 100% success in getting a sight or audio confirmation of this amazing and near mythical animal. However the view from Chris’s tree hammock (around 20m off the ground) was just of the rhinos back and so not good enough for him and he will be heading back time and time again (despite all of the problems listed above and all of the problems that we haven’t thought of yet) until he gets the picture that will have pride of place at the head of his collection.
He didn’t get a photograph despite seeing the back of the animal, so he will come back when possible to try again, it is all about getting the picture for this client and so he dedicates huge time and effort to these expeditions and repeats them many times until successful.
Below are some of the pictures he did get either by himself or via camera trap, they are Dhole, Indo-Malay Mountain Pit Viper, Sumatran Muntjac, Sumatran Orangtan and Sumatran Spiny Mouse.
Because of the specialist nature of the trip and the sole focus of our team we didn’t look for any wildlife other than evidence of rhinos, we didn’t keep a comprehensive mammal list (or even record any of the other species). But below is a list of the mammal species seen on the three expeditions we have run here since the first report published in August 2019.
Sumatran Rhino Expedition 2020, 2021 & 2022
Mammals (* = heard or signs only)
|Common Name||Binominal Name|
|1||Kloss’s squirrel||Callosciurus albescens|
|3||Black-striped squirrel||Collosciurus nigrovittatus|
|5||Sumatran rhino||Dicerorhinus sumatrensis|
|6||White-handed gibbon||Hylobates lar|
|7||Three-striped ground squirrel||Lariscus insignis|
|8||Long-tailed macaque||Macaca fascicularis|
|9||Sumatran spiny mouse||Maxomys hylomyoides|
|10||Sumatran muntjac||Muntiacus montanus|
|12||Javan pipistrelle||Pipistrellus javanicus|
|13||Sumatran orangutan||Pongo abelii|
|14||Thomas langur||Presbytis thomasi|
|15||Eurasian wild pig||Sus scofra|
|17||Sumatran tree shrew||Tupaia ferruginea|