Sabah Summer Field Study Trip

Exploring Wild Life Conservation at Sabah

22 - 29 June 2015

Four CIE students from the Environmental Conservation Studies of Division of Applied Science, visited Sandakan, Sabah in Malaysia. Students visited a wide range of wildlife habitats and conservation facilities, to explore the operation of best-practice eco-tours and learn about the conservation works to protect species with high conservation value.

Led by experienced eco-tour guides, students were able to observe rare animals which could seemingly only be seen from TV documentaries in their natural habitats, such as the flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps), an endangered species which is rarely found.

Students became more sensitive to their surrounding environment and wildlife even after returning to Hong Kong. They noticed indeed that there are many beautiful birds and butterflies along the footpath they walk on everyday which they have taken for granted before. More importantly, they found themselves giving nature more respect and understood more about the importance of conservation.

Encountering the Precious

YU Cheong Hang, Arthur (Environmental Conservation Studies, Year 2)

Before visiting Sabah, we knew very little about the wildlife there. During the field trip, I paid particular attention to the surrounding sounds and kept on searching the tree tops with my eyes. During the night river cruise, a mysterious wild cat was found along the river bank. It’s not easy to find a cat in the dark, and we stayed at the spot for about 30 minutes and I used my camera to capture as many photos as possible. We found out that it’s a flat-headed cat (Prionailurus planiceps) which is listed as an endangered species by IUCN, the World Conservation Union. Very few people in the world have observed them directly in the wild. Their population size of mature individuals is estimated to be less than 2,500 in the world!

During the trip, I was able to apply my skills to wildlife photography, taking hundreds of amazing photos. We kept on practising wildlife watching during the trip, not just from the riverside, but also on the street. At the end of the trip, I have developed confidence to identify some bird species accurately.


A lesson of Conserving Wildlife

YU Wai Ha, Fish (Environmental Conservation Studies, Year 2)

Unlike Hong Kong which is full of skyscrapers, Sabah is the place that allows people to be closer to the natural environment. The week in Sandakan provided me with a very nice chance to enjoy our nature, explore the rain forest and meet different wild creatures.

We lived in a resort which was built along the riverside in the rainforest for a few days. It was so relaxing to be surrounded by nature and exotic wildlife. The river cruise at dawn and dusk along Kinabatangan River was a great time to watch the daily life of many animals, including hornbills, hawks, crocodiles and different species of monkeys. They may come out at anytime and anywhere, so I have to pay attention to the movements or sounds from the riverside or forest. Gradually, I have built up sensitivity for finding wildlife.

We also visited some conservation centres, including the Speilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and the Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Therefore, it’s not just an opportunity for me to see diverse stunning wildlife, but also a lesson to learn about conservation of endangered species.