A carnivorous plant attracts, captures, and kills animals and digests them. The Venus flytrap is probably the best known carnivorous plant, which visibly captures insects. This plant is found only in Carolina in the U.S.
The Pitcher plants in Borneo are endemic and exotic variety of carnivores. Some leaves develop in form of pitcher with a lid around which large amounts of nectar are produced to attract insects. Insects get intoxicated and they slip and fall into the pitcher. The acidic fluid at the bottom of the pitcher dissolves the insect and digests it.
Bottle Pitcher - Summit Mulu
While trekking the mountains in Borneo, I saw a number of pitcher plants, but the most exotic varieties were found above 10,000 feet. The Rajah pitcher near Mount Kinabalu is one foot high and is reputed to have digested rats.
Men murder men. Animals kill animals. Men kill animals, animals kill men, men eat fish, sharks attack men, plants digest insects, plants kill plants... Hold. what's that? Plant killing plants? Mean, murder in the plant kingdom? Does it happen?
Murder by strangulation is a stratagem perfected by fig trees in the rainforests. I witnessed this phenomenon for the first time on a rainforest-trek of Borneo island, after running the Borneo International Marathon at Kota Kinabalu. Fig trees are the corner stones of rainforests. Figs bear fruit several times a year, different species of fig fruits at different times so that there is always abundant supply of food for animals that depend on fruit as a major part of their diet. A large variety of herbivores and omnivores like pigeons, parrots, hornbills, toucans, monkeys, gibbons, and fruit-eating bats, feed on the sweet fruit of the fig tree. In some forests up to 70% of its animal's diets depend on figs, and the number of fruit-eaters determines the number of predators living off fruit-eaters.
The proboscis monkey is also unique to Borneo. It is rare to spot, and is endangered. As per records, only 1000 numbers are around. No wonder, visitors to Borneo are mesmerised by proboscis sightings. But unlike its more popular cousin, the great orangutan, the proboscis has not yet captured worldwide attention of conservationists. Nevertheless, the authorities in Borneo are very much concerned with their safety, for there is rampant poaching of these lovely creatures.
Why is this monkey called 'proboscis?' Proboscis in Greek means an elongated appendage from the face of an animal. The elephant's trunk is also referred to as a proboscis. Anyone with an unusually long nose can safely be nicknamed 'proboscis'. One look at the nose of this monkey, and you will appreciate his apt name. His huge nose falls all over his mouth, so much so, he has to lift it up to feed himself. The monkey is also heavily pot-bellied. If we find all this odd and funny, he couldn’t care less. Bigger his nose, larger would be his harem!
In the year 1818, two ardent naturalists, Sir Stamford Raffles and Dr. Joseph Arnold were exploring the thick rainforests of Indonesia when they chanced upon a till then unseen, huge brick red coloured flower, almost 10 kgs in weight.
Rafflesia Arnoldi, so named after the two original discoverers is the world's largest flower, and is endemic to the rainforests of Borneo, Sumatra and Java. The Rafflesia has no leaves, stem or roots. It is a parasitic on the woody vines in the forests. It grows invisibly inside certain woody vines for nine months till it explodes into a huge flower. After six to seven days, it withers off into a blackish brown mass, as if the flower were burnt down.
Rafflesia emits a foul dead rat odour, to attract carrion flies. Though it is very rarely in bloom, I was fortunate to see a flower in full bloom in the Gunang Guding national park in Kuching, south Borneo. This flower was around one metre in diameter. The largest recorded so far was 1.6 metres.
In the summer of 2005, while browsing the web for an interesting place to visit, I came across a passage from Lonely Planet:
“The Pinnacles at Mulu in Borneo are one of the 100 places one should see before one dies.”
Googled it. Mulu was in the southern state of Sarawak in an island called Borneo. Borneo itself was a two-and-a-half hour flight from Kuala Lumpur. The island lay to the north of Indonesia’s Bali. Borneo is the third largest island in the world, behind Greenland and New Guinea. Politically, the states of Sabah and Sarawak are Malaysian, with the independent Sultanate of Brunei sandwiched in between. Thanks to Forbes, I knew Brunei is ruled by the richest man in the world, till Bill Gates and Warren Buffet emerged. Offering excellent tourist facilities, Malaysian Borneo is somewhat autonomous, in that even visitors holding Malaysian visas get separate visas stamped on arrival in Sabah or Sarawak. The remaining two-thirds of Borneo island, called Kalimantan, is Indonesian, but though larger than Malaysian Borneo, lacks tourist amenities.
I had read the following item in another Malaysian website (http://www.malaysiasite.nl/pinnacleseng.htm)
Every visitor to Mulu is first taken to the show caves. We first went to the Deer Cave and then the nearby Lang Cave. A three kilometre plank-walk from the Park headquarters to the Deer Cave gave me the first glimpse of a rainforest. Hundred feet high trees masked the forest floor from the sun. Large winged Rajah Brooke butterflies flirted all over the floor. Cicadas whistled shrill and long. Tweeting of a thousand birds oozed down like heady wine from high up the tree canopy. Suddenly, a cacophony of screeching and screaming startled the forest environs, which the guide told me emanated from unseen gibbons frolicking high above. Colourful frogs an acrobatic display just a step ahead of us, first taunting, then jumping off. Stunning orchids decorated the trees. Begonias peeped out of every crack in log and rock.
“There, look,” my guide sounded excited. A slender green serpent shot out and froze like a twig, reminding us that raptures and risks were the Siamese twins of these rainforests.
The guide told me that Deer Cave once used to be occupied by deer, no longer. Bats and small sparrow-sized birds called swiftlets are the main dwellers now, clustered amidst the cracks and crevices of the Cave ceiling. The Cave is really big, he told me, stretching over 2 kilometres from end to end.
Submitted by Anand Anantharaman1 on Thu, 2012-05-31 02:32
The Hyderabad Heritage Marathon is scheduled to be held this year on 23rd September 2012.
Hyderabad 10K Run Foundation is the organizer of the Heritage Marathon and Mrs. Uma Chigurupati is the current Chairperson of 10K Foundation. Marathon in Marathon spoke to Uma Chigurupati. Uma, along with her husband Krishna, holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest marathons by a married couple on the North and South Poles.
MinM: This is the second year of the HHM. How would you rate the response to your first year event held last year?
Uma: Yes, we are very happy with the response during the First year.
MinM: What was the course best timing for men? For women?
Uma: We recorded good timings, in spite of the course being not a very easy one.
Men: 02:18:46 (Full Marathon)
Women: 02:50:39 (Full Marathon)
Men: 01:05:31 (Half Marathon)
Women: 01:15:35 (Half Marathon)
MinM: Is the course this year going to be the same like last? Which are the important Heritage Monuments on the course?
Uma: The course is the same. In fact this course is certified by AIMS and that certificate is valid for 5 years. Some of the interesting sites are Chowmahallah Palace, Charminar, Golconda Fort, Taramati Baradari, Qutub Shahi Tombs.
Run for Marathon Gold in cities where they flocked in search of real gold a hundred years ago; Where their ghosts still roam…
In the four cities born out of the gold rush of the nineteenth century:
The orangutan is one of the four great apes - the others being the gorilla, bonobo and chimpanzee- the adult can be much taller than a man. The orangutan, at nearly 200 pounds (90 kg), is the largest of all arboreal mammals--those that spend most of their lives on trees. In Malay, orangutan means "man of the forest."
Though orangutans are usually not unfriendly, they are so powerful that even a friendly hug can break a man's bones. A couple of months before I went there, a French couple were taking an early morning walk in the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary in Sandakan, hoping to spot some orangutans in the wild. When they found one, the animal held the lady, first lightly, then tightly. To bail her out, the man offered himself, while the wife rushed to get help. The ape kept looking at the man's camera, which he then took. Then the gaze shifted to the shirt, which too was offered.
By the time help arrived, the man was fully stripped, but unharmed. The theory is, when orangutan catches hold of you, he wants to take everything that you have and he doesn't! All such loot will be stashed away in huge nests high in the trees.