Typically when you work in a seasonal floodplain, you expect nothing less than seasonal flooding. But sometimes, the river overflows its banks and intrudes like rarely seen before.
Our partners in Elephant Conservation work out of the Danau Girang Field Centre in the Malaysian State of Sabah on the island of Borneo. Geography Assigment – google a map on find Sabah on the island. The Centre sits on the banks of the Kinabatangan River, a 560km river which runs from the mountains of SW Sabah down to the Sulu Sea. Find this on the map as well, I will wait…
When I visited last October, the giant meandering river was easily 10feet below the bank. The field house photo below is then another 100-150 yards into the forest. All travel in the area is thankfully by boat but you can imagine how difficult it must be to track elephants, orangutans, and other animals in this environment. Not to mention issues with clean drinking water, flooding generators and whether your clothesline will float away in the night.
I of course cannot forget to mention how much closer this flooding will be bring crocodiles, who normally stay on the riverbanks, to your door now that they think your door is the riverbank.
“Good morning dear, there is a 15 foot crocodile on our front porch”.
“Oh, lovely, invite him in for tea…”