Kaeng Krachan Report

I spent several days at Kaeng Krachan last month with Dom Davidson, looking for mammals and birds. The highlight was close and extended views of two young Leopards resting together in the middle of the road somewhere around km 22-25 just before noon.

As there was a recent elephant related fatality, the park rangers were very strict about leaving the campground in the evening. However, we had no problem problem departing around 5:00 AM. We went on pre-dawn drives several times and saw almost nothing besides a few Sambar at a watering hole. Our guess is that the unusually cold temperatures (about 10 degrees celsius) resulted in decreased activity. It was substantially warmer in the evening, and driving then may have been more productive.

We also stopped by the water holes below the first campground on a couple afternoons. This was not as productive as we had hoped, but we saw a pair of Crab-eating Mongooses and had very poor views of Gaur just after dusk (this was the first afternoon, and we were reprimanded multiple times by the park guards for staying out after dark).

Spotlighting around the lower campground was very productive. The park staff leave food out behind the restaurant, attracting several species of Civets and Porcupines.

I regret not spending much time around the upper campground, which can yield Tenasserim Langur and Fea’s Muntjac.

My photos are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tremarctos/

1. Northern Treeshrew – common.
2. Dusky Langur – common
3. White-handed Gibbon – commonly heard from the stream crossings up. Seen once.
4. Large Indian Civet – a few seen around the campground, came in occasionally to food behind the restaurant
5. Masked Palm Civet – same as 4
6. Common Palm Civet – same as 4
7. Crab-eating Mongoose – a pair seen at a water hole
8. Leopard -see above
9. Lesser Mouse Deer – one came in to the Lung Sin blind, another was seen at one of the large water holes.
10. Red Muntjac – A few seen along the road and at the water holes. A couple tame individuals frequented the campground.
11. Sambar – common
12. Black Giant Squirrel – a few sightings near the stream crossings
13. Variable Squirrel – very common at the hides.
14. Western Striped Squirrel – a pair at Lung Sin hide, and a few other sightings
15. Indochinese Ground Squirrel – a few seen at the hides
16. Malayan Porcupine – a constant presence behind the restaurant in the evening. Also seen along the road and in the campground.
17. Asiatic Brush-tailed Porcupine – one walked behind the restaurant on a couple evenings, but did not seem interested in stopping

Mammals seen elsewhere in Thailand:
1. Pallas’s Squirrel – Doi Inthanon
2. Red-cheeked Squirrel – Doi Inthanon (behind the buildings at the summit)
3. Yellow-throated Marten – a pair at Doi Lang
4. Chinese Goral – four at the Kiew Mae Pan cliffs at Doi Inthanon. I had hoped to see Serow here, but the (required) guide indicated that they were very rare. A ranger who counts the Goral daily had only seen one a few times.
5. Lyle’s Flying Fox – thousands flew overhead at dusk at Laem Pak Bia

Ben

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7 Comments on “Kaeng Krachan Report”

  1. white1985 Says:

    Very nice pictures! Congratulations!

    It’s really annoying how the bad luck of others (i.e. often stupidity of those who think wild animals are cuddly and need to be approached whenever they are seen) spoils the fun for everyone. We had a similar problem with a “no go” policy in Tabin-Borneo last May. Because a tourist (very unfortunately) managed to get herself killed by an elephant, no one is allowed to walk the reserve alone anymore – not even on the tracks at daytime. This tourist apparently felt the urgent need to take close-up photographs of an angry elephant on the path. Well…
    And I could come to terms with this kind of policies if they were really needed. The way I see it, the obligatory ranger/guide is just there to avoid idiotic tourist actions. The guides did not seem armed, not even with a stick, so I don’t see what they could do if there were an escalated encounter with a dangerous animal. If reserves for insurance reasons need to back themselves up, wouldn’t it be easier and more fair to offer the visitors the chance to sign a form declaring all responsibility lies with them… (Oh right, we did sign a form like that to get into Tabin, but that didn’t really do anything for us…). In Kinabatangan we were very strongly advised not to go hiking around the lodge one day – because the elephants had been seen and were less than a mile away. That makes more sense than a complete ban on exploring an area.

  2. Israel Says:

    it’s a bit harsh implying that the girl killed at Kaeng Krachan was stupid! They found her body five days after she had gone missing, there is no evidence of what happened to provoke the elephant attack. It could happen to anybody who goes out simply birding.

    But back to Ben’s mammal list, I saw three gorals at Kiew Mae Pan in Doi Inthanon the other day, as well as a short-tailed gymnure at the start of the 37.5km jeep trail (my first gymnure!). Yesterday I saw a pair of yellow-throated martens at Den Ya Kat (Doi Chiang Dao).

  3. Israel Says:

    I’ve just had a look at the photos on your photostream. I wish I could get photos like that of the wildlife I see!! They are superb.

    The squirrel you have labelled as a variable squirrel is a grey-bellied squirrel though (Callosciurus caniceps).

    • geomalia Says:

      Thanks!

      Thanks for the correction about the squirrel. It doesn’t look like any of the illustrations in Francis (instead being more similar to a ssp of Variable Squirrel occurring elsewhere), but I looked up some other books and it matched.

      I’ve been following your travels on birdforum. Awesome trip!

  4. Israel Says:

    this is what I saw in seven nights at Kaeng Krachan. I was on foot so didn’t get around as much as someone with a car would have (I never visited the waterholes down the road before the lower campsite, for example) so didn’t see any of the larger mammals except an elephant. Because of the danger of running into elephants on the road at night I didn’t do any spotlighting at the lower campsite except around the camp itself, but even there I came across a big bull elephant in the car park early one morning. Everywhere seemed pretty quiet actually, even amongst the birds during the day. I didn’t see any civets around the lower camp at all (although a couple of other people saw large Indian civets there). The brush-tailed porcupines have their home under the second toilet block (not the one nearest the office and restaurant, but the one on the lower section of the camp-ground). There’s a big hole in the foundations and if you stick your head and a torch inside you can see the whole underside of the structure. There were at least five porcupines living under there.

    At the upper campsite there are no elephants but I only got one night without rain so didn’t see anything anyway except what was at the camp (civets and rats). Nobody cared that I was going out at night. Even at the lower campsite the barriers remained up every night so there would have been nothing stopping someone with a car going spotlighting.

    I was disappointed not to see crab-eating mongoose which it seems is commonly spotted, or Fea’s muntjac. Apparently the leopards which were being very showy about a month or two ago are not being seen now.

    [u]Upper campsite area:[/u]
    Banded Leaf Monkey
    Dusky Langur
    White-handed Gibbon
    Northern Tree Shrew
    Red-cheeked Ground Squirrel
    Grey-bellied Squirrel
    Himalayan Striped Squirrel
    Polynesian Rat – they live under the shelter in the campsite
    Large Indian Civet – behind the restaurant

    [u]Lower campsite area:[/u]
    Elephant – a bull in the car park at campsite one morning
    Crab-eating Macaque – seen low down the access road on the way in
    Dusky Langur
    White-handed Gibbon
    Himalayan Striped Squirrel
    Grey-bellied Squirrel
    Bicoloured Giant Squirrel
    Malayan Crested Porcupine – behind the restaurant
    Asian Brush-tailed Porcupine – they live under the lower toilet block
    [Large Indian Civet – I didn’t see them down here but others did]


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