Friday, October 22, 2010

Malaysian Animals

I got this as a thank-you card from Lim a long time ago. It features the three "highly photographed" animals of Malaysia: Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros), Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni), and orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus).

The Rhinoceros Hornbill is the state bird of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, and represents the god of war for the native Dayak people. The hornbill on this card is male, which you can tell by his red eyes. Females have pale, whitish eyes. Hornbills lay their eggs inside a cavity in a tree. The female stays inside with the eggs, and the male uses mud to seal up the cavity except for a small hole through which the male brings the female and chicks food. When the chicks are ready to leave the nest, their parents chip the mud away again.

There are thought to be about 700 Malayan tigers in the wild, making it the most common tiger subspecies, however they are still endangered. According to wikipedia, there are usually 1.1 - 1.98 tigers per hundred square kilometers of rainforest. Well I've never seen 1.98 of a tiger... The tiger is a Malaysian national symbol, appearing on their coat of arms, symbolizing bravery and strength.

At one time, orangutans lived wild in Malaysia, but now the only wild orangutans live on the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra. They are great apes, along with humans, gorillas, and chimpanzees. "Orang utan" means "forest person" in Malay, and orangutans are indeed the most arboreal of all the apes, spending almost all their time in trees, and making a new nest of leaves and branches every night. Like other apes, orangutans have been shown to make, modify, and use tools in foraging for food.

Two bird stamps issued in 2005: the ochraceous bulbul (left) and the spotted dove (right).

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