Wildlife on Koh Chang. The Flora and Fauna

How many speciies of animals live on Koh Chang?

Help Survey Koh Chang Nature

There’s a new site on the interwebz about Koh Chang but rather than focusing on tourism on the island it aims to catalogue the wildlife found here.  Nice idea.

There’s a huge variety of flora and fauna both on land and in the seas around the island and yet there isn’t a place where you can easily get a name for their strange horned yellow beetle thing you see every day outside your bungalow.

Of course surveys have been done on the island in the past and species counted.  But knowing the Latin name for a Yellow-vented Bulbul is useless unless you actually know what a Yellow-vented Bulbul looks like in the first place.

Enter – a site that aims to put that right and and photograph as many species as possible.

Of course, this isn’t the first time someone has tried to something like this.  Listing plant species began over 100 years ago .

The first survey of the plants on Koh Chang took place way back in 1899 – 1900 when a Danish Expedition, led by Johannes Schmidt visited Koh Chang and spent 3 months on the island visiting as much of it as possible with the help of the Thai Navy.  During their stay they stayed with the Navy in Dan Mai and visited all areas of the island collecting samples of pretty much everything they could lay their hands on.

The samples collected were taken to Copenhagen University where they were recorded.  This was then all written up into a book entitled,  ‘Flora of Koh Chang’ which was published in 1902 and looking at it, probably wasn’t a bestseller.  You really need to be a plant geek to appreciate a book which is 500 pages of nothing but Latin names for stuff. And for some reason they didn’t bother counting animals, only plants.  The book is out of copyright now and so available for download here: Flora of Koh Chang PDF

Fast forward 90 years and the Koh Chang National Park  decided it’d be an idea to see what animals they had been protecting in the ten years since the island was declared a National Park.  So a survey was done in 1992.  The results of this are the facts and figures on animal population that you see in every guidebook and website about the island.

This survey turned up 29 species of animals including Wild Pig, Barking Deer, Slow Loris, Stump-tailed Macaque, Silvered Langur, Small Indian Civet, Javan Mongoose etc.  Add to that 74 bird species, some of which are migratory, but the vast majority, 61 of them, are resident on the island.   These include everything from tiny Sunbirds – often mistaken for Hummingbirds, to huge Hornbills and Sea Eagles.  Finally, a total of 42 different types of reptiles and amphibians were spotted – this covers everything from King Cobras down to the Koh Chang Frog.  Which was originally thought to be found only on Koh Chang but later discovered to also live in the Cardamom mountains in Cambodia.  Which isn’t surprising as in prehistoric times, Koh Chang was connected to that mountain range before the island split off and floated into Thailand.

Common sense tells you that you’re unlikely to be able to find everything that lives on a densely populated island during a short survey.  What’s really required is an ongoing project that can list and identify all manner of fauna as and when it is spotted.  Plus it’s possible that some species could have died out in the past 25 years, as back in the early 90s there was very little development on the island anbd there’s bound to be some effect on animal life as the island develops.

That’s where the new website comes in.

Logging species isn’t something that has an end date but no doubt will slow down as all the more common ones are spotted and photographed.  Also, this site is limiting itself to just listing living creatures great and small because, as the 500 page; century old book shows, there’s just too many varieties and species of plants that could be identified here.  It’d take forever to note all of them and, to be fair, most are pretty boring to the layman.

Help identify the species of  animals on Koh Chang.  

Obviously, it’s going to take more than a couple of guys wandering around with their cameras trying to photograph everything in their spare time.  That’s where you come in.

If you see anything weird and wonderful during your time on the island, a bird, animal or just a bug that doesn’t look like a common or garden ant, then please submit it to the site.  You’ll find more details of what’s been identified and logged so far on the site.

But here are a few photos of things you can look out for.  These photos all taken from that site as I don’t have the patience or a camera good enough to photograph bugs or birds 100 metres away.

( There’s also lots more photos in the Koh Chang Nature Facebook group )

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