sign in a cave in Laos

27 February 2013

Elephants in and around Merapoh caves

The Merapoh area in northern Pahang is situated on the boundary of Taman Negara, Malaysia's largest and oldest national park. The park is home to large mammals such as elephants and big cats. Of course these animals are not restricted to the park and are found in other places in Malaysia.

Elephants are known to go into caves, the most famous example being the Kitum Caves at Mount Elgon in Kenya. In Taman Negara, Malaysia many years ago I was camping alone in Gua Kepayang Besar and when I left in the  morning there was a steaming pile of elephant dung in the cave entrance. I later saw an elephant as I was trekking.

In Merapoh in Sept 2012 we found elephant dung in Gua Gajah Marah

 and in Gua Putera Mandi in Nov -

Whilst visiting to Gua Hari Malaysia in Sept 2012 we found elephant bones both downsteam and upstream of the cave.

This is the tooth of an elephant -

In June 2013 I visited the Natural History Museum in London, and took this photo of the tooth of an Asiatic elephant.

When we visited Gua Hari Malaysia in Feb 2013, we found a lower jaw and a leg bone from an elephant. I wonder if all the bones came from the same elephant.


The leg bone

The bones were taken back to the Merapoh hostel

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

26 February 2013

Documentary filming in Merapoh caves

From 19-24 Feb 2013, KL Motion Picture Company were filming a documentary for part of the Save Merapoh Caves campaign. Called Misi Merapoh, the object was to portray the Merapoh caves, to show how beautiful and interesting they are.

The first day was shot in Gua Tahi Bintang. With the filming lights the cave looked even more spectacular.

The colours and the bedding showed up clearly

In the evening we went to Gua Seribu Cerita. This is the cave with many rock drawings.

The next day we went to Gua Hari Malaysia. On the way to the cave we found an elephant jaw and leg bone.
Filming in the cave was very slow and we got totally wet in the low section. We all got very, very cold (hard to believe we were in Malaysia!). Also the cold wind from the waterfall made it worse, so we went as far as the first waterfall, then left.

Protecting the camera from drips -

and there were many drips -

On the 3rd day of filming we went to Gua Jinjang Pelamin. We filmed in the entrance, then had a lunch break before going straight to the Twin Towers.
We put a rope on one of the climbs, and this is the "3 man belay"!!! -

Filming the guano which is home to many cockroaches -

I found the bones of a cave racer. See more on xxx.
Other inhabitants -
 Scorpion, and spider with egg sac

A Bufo toad, and a dead fruit bat -

The next day we went to Gua Air Mata Dayang and Gua Kolam Biru. The guys constructed a raft to enable the cameraman to go across the lake and into the cave. I swam this a couple of weeks earlier.

Juki also had a look underwater

Filming at Kolam Biru -

On the final day of filming, the object was to record the team looking for a new cave. We went to Bukit Tekong as Seni knew of a cave in a part of the hill we hadn't yet looked at.

 It was a nice area, with lots of flora such as Monophyllaea, Begonias, ferns etc. We named on cave Gua Tekong Taman from the garden outside.

Inside was a skin from a King Cobra, 

There were also some bones, possibly porcupine -

I also saw a cave racer, it was the largest one I've seen in the Merapoh caves -
The cave had several entrances and an upper level. Looking down on the entrance from the upper chamber -

Next to it is Gua Tekong Terowong, which is a tunnel through the hill and is about 30 m long. Inside were the bones of a wild boar.

And a few toads

Tunnel back door -

At the back of the hill we only found one short cave, named Gua Tekong Jodoh.

See my blog of the finished film, Misi Merapoh, it was shown on RTM TV2 on 21October 2013.
© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

Wild boar skeleton in Merapoh cave

When caving in Merapoh in early Feb, we found a porcupine skull in a cave. Two weeks later we found a wild boar skeleton. It was in Gua Tekong Terowong, a tunnel of about 30 m that goes through the hill.

The wild boar or pig, Sus scrofa is a common animal in Malaysia and we often see its footprints around cave entrances as well as muddy areas where the pigs have been digging.

These are the bones "neatly" arranged by someone!

This is the lower jaw -
There should be 11 teeth on each side


See more on documentary filming in Merapoh caves.

Update -
When I visited the cave in July 2013 I found that all the bones had gone.


© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission