06 July 2012 1 of 4


MAGANUTO, BOBONARO DIST., TIMOR-LESTE

 


TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
PHASE VII: THE 13th DISTRICT

Timor-Leste comprises 12 contiguous Districts, plus the exclave District of Oecusse, making a total of 13 Districts. Before our arrival in Maliana we had herped in every district except Bobonaro (although one of the Jets, Zito Afanio Soares, is from Maliana and had done his thesis fieldwork near his home). So Bobonaro was our 13th and final district. If 13th an unlucky number, as the accident of the day before suggested? Since nobody was injured maybe 13 is lucky after all!

Hotel Risky Obviously the best hotel in town

Zito managed to get the day off work to take us to a likely location where we could find montane reptiles and amphibians about 30 minutes east from Maliana. It involved a short climb from the village of Maganuto at 923 m elevation, through three different habitat types. Much of the climb was across coarse montane grass with scattered rocks but there were areas of dense buttressed trees, hooked vines, cacti and bamboo, and then there was the mossy forest at around 1200 m on the lower slopes of the cliff that towered above us. This last habitat was our destination, an area of large trees growing out of accumulated rock-falls, the whole largely covered by moss and epiphytes.

Maganuto was our start point A graveyeard on the hill overlooks the Indonesian border

As we climbed we could clearly see how close we were to the Indonesian border across the river.

The forest at the base of the cliff was our destination Clounds roll over the mountains like a white tsunami