June 10, 2015
Fruits of the Forest
- as seen by -Alys Granados
Hiking nearly 10 miles in a wet and leech-filled Bornean jungle to check one camera trap can be frustrating if when you get there, you find that your photos are out of focus, or that ants have got in the camera, causing it to malfunction. But sometimes, the forest works overtime to help you get some nice shots.
The most widespread family of trees in the area, Dipterocarps, produced fruit in 2014, which, usually only occurs in El Nino years. For a few months, the forest floor was covered in Dipterocarp fruits, providing food for many forest animals. Bearded pigs, in particular, are thought to respond quite strongly to these fruiting episodes: they have more piglets than in non-mast years and may travel in larger groups. By placing our cameras on these trees, we were able to document the diversity of species in the area, and study how forest animals respond to this temporary buffet of food.