Vietnam 2013: Part 4 (series finale)

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Zach Cava
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Vietnam 2013: Part 4 (series finale)

Post by Zach Cava » April 23rd, 2014, 10:38 am

Continued from Part 3


For our final few days at Pu Mat National Park we decided to venture into some old-growth forest. Along the way we encountered this crew working on improving the road.

Image



Our guide stands at the edge of the road and looks toward our destination—the forest on the far side of the river, hundreds of feet below.

Image




Discussing the best way to traverse the steep talus slope. As usual, our guides seemed amused by our apprehension!

Image





Making my way down as gracefully as possible, I somehow managed to catch my footing long enough to snap a photo of Scott and Craig.

Image





Miraculously we all reached the valley intact.

Image





After crossing the river, we found a small clearing and the remains of an old hunting camp. Our guides immediately got to work refurbishing the place.

Image





It was impressive to see how fast they constructed a shelter for all of us, and using only their hands, a knife, and a few pieces of bamboo! (The bamboo served as the frame for the structure, and was also used to make the cordage that secured it). Plastic tarps were used for a roof, a few hammocks were strung up, and voilá!

Image





Breakfast

Image





Exploring the surroundings

Image


Image


Image





Looking up inside of a tree

Image






Hiking up the river

Image





Pyrite?

Image





Xenophrys major (Glandular Horned Toad, White-lipped Horned Toad)

Image


Image





We had this stunning animal ID’d as a male Trimeresurus gumprechti (syn. Viridovipera gumprechti; Gumprecht’s Green Pitviper). From looking at other photos of T. gumprechti, I noticed that most have a lateral red/white stripe that extends all the way up to the eye, while in this one the stripe appears to end posterior to the head. Not sure if this is just due to intraspecific variation or if this could be something else (e.g. T. stejnegeri?)

Image


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Splintered sunlight

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Back in Vinh, we stopped by the university for a tour of their specimen collections.

Image


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Unfortunately, most of the specimens were in bad shape, and many were downright terrifying.

Image





Monkey “Terminator”?

Image


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Apparently this tiger was in need of restoration

Image





Looks about right

Image





Hook

Image





Dr. Trung holding Saola horns

Image





Wet specimen room (mostly herps)

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Beautiful posters

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Frog hell

Image





Well that was depressing. Time to get out and see some live animals! I always enjoy urban herping and was excited to see what Vinh had to offer.

Image





Juvenile Eutropis sp.—I think either E. longicaudata or E. multifasciata.

Image


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Old and new

Image

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Pond/sewage

Image





Male Calotes versicolor (?)

Image





I think he’s winking at me

Image





Adult Eutropis longicaudata in a tree

Image





Female Calotes versicolor
Image





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I’ll close with some fun English translations—this first one is at a KFC.

Image





…and in our hotel room

Image





That’s all for Vietnam—it’s been fun, thanks for following!

Image









Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

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John Martin
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Re: Vietnam 2013: Part 4 (series finale)

Post by John Martin » April 23rd, 2014, 11:21 pm

I've really, really enjoyed your Vietnam series Zach - makes me wanna go one day. But oh man, that museum was a veritable little shop of horrors! :shock: However, I'll bet you got to see some really cool and uncommon species there. Great job!!

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Vietnam 2013: Part 4 (series finale)

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » April 24th, 2014, 3:38 am

What a wonderful series, and what a finale! High adventure at its best - thank you for showing. Your photography has improved over the installments, by the way!

I read through the Biodiversity Group website and still only have a faint idea about what they are: a non-profit NGO financing itself through organized eco-trips and stock photography? Or are thez connected to and carried by educational institutions? It seems truly wonderful what they do, and I want to help and be part of it but I think their website is more aimed at insiders than it is a proper marketing tool, which is unfortunate, considering what they do. Are there any people here in Malaysian Borneo who work with them? I'd love to hook up.

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Zach Cava
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Re: Vietnam 2013: Part 4 (series finale)

Post by Zach Cava » April 24th, 2014, 5:46 am

Thanks very much John and Hans, glad you guys enjoyed these posts. Funny you say my photography has improved over the installments, as much of the images in this one were taken with my phone! (Other cameras I was using on this trip were a Canon D10 and Canon SX50. Only after this trip did I decide it was time to get my first "real" (i.e. not point-and-shoot) camera (Canon 6D).

Regarding The Biodiversity Group and their website - I forwarded your comments on to Paul Hamilton (director) as I am sure they appreciate the feedback. You are correct in that the group is partly financed through these trips and stock photography. I think they are working on improving the marketing issues you mention, and Paul might have more to add on that.

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Keeper
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Re: Vietnam 2013: Part 4 (series finale)

Post by Keeper » April 24th, 2014, 10:32 am

Zach Cava wrote:Continued from Part 3


For our final few days at Pu Mat National Park we decided to venture into some old-growth forest. Along the way we encountered this crew working on improving the road.

Image



Our guide stands at the edge of the road and looks toward our destination—the forest on the far side of the river, hundreds of feet below.

Image




Discussing the best way to traverse the steep talus slope. As usual, our guides seemed amused by our apprehension!

Image





Making my way down as gracefully as possible, I somehow managed to catch my footing long enough to snap a photo of Scott and Craig.

Image





Miraculously we all reached the valley intact.

Image





After crossing the river, we found a small clearing and the remains of an old hunting camp. Our guides immediately got to work refurbishing the place.

Image





It was impressive to see how fast they constructed a shelter for all of us, and using only their hands, a knife, and a few pieces of bamboo! (The bamboo served as the frame for the structure, and was also used to make the cordage that secured it). Plastic tarps were used for a roof, a few hammocks were strung up, and voilá!

Image





Breakfast

Image





Exploring the surroundings

Image


Image


Image





Looking up inside of a tree

Image






Hiking up the river

Image





Pyrite?

Image





Xenophrys major (Glandular Horned Toad, White-lipped Horned Toad)

Image


Image





We had this stunning animal ID’d as a male Trimeresurus gumprechti (syn. Viridovipera gumprechti; Gumprecht’s Green Pitviper). From looking at other photos of T. gumprechti, I noticed that most have a lateral red/white stripe that extends all the way up to the eye, while in this one the stripe appears to end posterior to the head. Not sure if this is just due to intraspecific variation or if this could be something else (e.g. T. stejnegeri?)

Image


Image





Splintered sunlight

Image


Image





Back in Vinh, we stopped by the university for a tour of their specimen collections.

Image


Image


Image


Image





Unfortunately, most of the specimens were in bad shape, and many were downright terrifying.

Image





Monkey “Terminator”?

Image


Image





Apparently this tiger was in need of restoration

Image





Looks about right

Image





Hook

Image





Dr. Trung holding Saola horns

Image





Wet specimen room (mostly herps)

Image





Image


Image





Beautiful posters

Image


Image





Image


Image


Image


Image


Image


Image


Image


Image


Image


Image





Frog hell

Image





Well that was depressing. Time to get out and see some live animals! I always enjoy urban herping and was excited to see what Vinh had to offer.

Image





Juvenile Eutropis sp.—I think either E. longicaudata or E. multifasciata.

Image


Image





Old and new

Image

Image





Pond/sewage

Image





Male Calotes versicolor (?)

Image





I think he’s winking at me

Image





Adult Eutropis longicaudata in a tree

Image





Female Calotes versicolor
Image





Image





I’ll close with some fun English translations—this first one is at a KFC.

Image





…and in our hotel room

Image





That’s all for Vietnam—it’s been fun, thanks for following!

Image









Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4


Nice job! Was that a some kind of diversity survey?
As for the ID question of Trimeresurus gumprechti, I believe the red stripe on the head is an variable trait among individual, and it's more common in male compare to female. Many Chinese specimen of T. gumprechti from southern Yunnan province do not have the red stripes on the head either. You may reference other diagnostic traits such as dorsal scale count to double check your ID.
Hope that helps
Kai

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Zach Cava
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Re: Vietnam 2013: Part 4 (series finale)

Post by Zach Cava » April 24th, 2014, 2:58 pm

Thanks Kai - yes this was a surveying trip led by The Biodiversity Group. There is more background info if you check out Part 1. Also, thanks for the info on the Trimeresurus. Others have said the same regarding the red stripe.

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moloch
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Re: Vietnam 2013: Part 4 (series finale)

Post by moloch » April 24th, 2014, 11:36 pm

Very interesting, Zach. I enjoyed the series. We rarely see reports from Indochina. I would love to revisit the south. Years ago, I birded the Cat Tien and Dalat area and I am sure that both would be good for reptiles and butterflies. Someday!

Regards,
David

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Zach Cava
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Re: Vietnam 2013: Part 4 (series finale)

Post by Zach Cava » April 25th, 2014, 5:03 pm

Thanks David - there is certainly a whole lot there to see and explore

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Antonsrkn
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Re: Vietnam 2013: Part 4 (series finale)

Post by Antonsrkn » April 25th, 2014, 7:55 pm

Excellent series! I have enjoyed them all, thanks for sharing with us.

I was curious, are undetonated landmines a concern at all while herping down there? I was speaking to my parents after their trip to Cambodia and they told me how they frequently saw warning signs about landmines as well as a number of people maimed by landmines in certain areas and even a sweeper team going over an area to check for mines. I know the conflict in Cambodia was more recent but I don't know how long mines can remain functional, or the extent of mine removal in Vietnam. Thats certainly not something most of us are used to considering while herping/hiking/living life.

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Zach Cava
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Re: Vietnam 2013: Part 4 (series finale)

Post by Zach Cava » April 27th, 2014, 12:14 pm

Thanks Anton - That's a good question. As we were told, the area we were working in had not experienced much (if any) combat, and unexploded ordinances were not a concern. We saw nothing to suggest otherwise. I suspect that this may not be the case elsewhere, however, so it's definitely something to check up on.

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