sign in a cave in Laos

25 August 2014

Kanthan's lafargei snail in international news

End of August saw a flurry of pieces in the international media about the newly described Gunung Kanthan snail that is named after the quarry company Lafaarge who are destroying the hill. The snail is called Charopa lafargei, and is endemic to Gunung Kanthan. The scientific paper was published in Basteria, (2014) 78(1-3).

Mongabay on 24 August 2014 had this piece, "Scientists name new endangered species after the company that will decide its fate".

The Guardian in the UK published this piece on 25 August 2014, "A tiny, rare snail in Malaysia has big consequences for global cement giant".

The Epoch Times, 26 Aug, "Tiny Endangered Snail Named for Company". 27 Aug, "New species of snail discovered in Lafarge Malaysia limestone quarry".

Global Cement on 28 Aug, "Future of Charopa lafargei snail in hands of Lafarge Malaysia".

Espandar Cement News , "Future of Charopa lafargei snail in hands of Lafarge Malaysia".

Novataxa BlogSpot on 24 Aug, "[Mollusca • 2014] ‘Charopa’ lafargei • A New, presumed narrowly Endemic Species (Gastropoda, Pulmonata, Charopidae) from Peninsular Malaysia".

Then the Malaysian papers :
The Star 30 Aug published "New snail species found".

Malay Mail, 2 Sept
In Ipoh, rare snail named after cement giant is safe, says French quarry company

Ipoh Echo, No 197, 16-30 Sept
New Snail Species Discovered In Kinta Valley

20 August 2014

Crystal removal from caves - highlighted in Descent

The removal of crystals from caves in Malaysia is a continuing problem. I have blogged about it earlier in 2014 and also in 2011. I also wrote a small piece in the international caving magazine Descent, published in England, issue 223.

Now I have had another piece published in Descent 239, Aug/Sept 2014 :

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

13 August 2014

Quarrying of Bukit Sagu & Bukit Tenggek, Pahang

Bukit Sagu in Pahang is being quarried by Pahang Cement / YTL. The neighbouring Bukit Tenggek is also being quarried. These 2 hills are among a group of 4 limestone hills located west of Kuantan, the others being Bukit Charas and Bukit Panching - the latter has been totally removed by quarrying. This is a GE image of the 4 hills in 2003, from south to north = Panching, Charas, Sagu, Tenggek -

Pahang Cement was established in 1995 as a 50:50 joint venture between the State Government of Pahang Darul Makmur and YTL Cement. The purpose of the joint venture was to build and operate the proposed integrated cement plant to be located in Bukit Sagu, Kuantan. The plant, the first of its kind in the Eastern Corridor, became operational in May 1998. YTL Cement acquired the remaining 50% of Pahang Cement in 2003. Pahang Cement Sdn Bhd (Pahang Cement) operates a state-of-the-art integrated cement plant in Bukit Sagu with the capacity to produce over 1.2 million tonnes of ordinary portland cement per annum. See more on YTL.

General view of the west side Bukit Sagu, with a large vertical opening on the left side -

View of Sagu from YTL plant -
and the YTL cement trucks waiting to take away the hill
View from the north end


 2003 GE -

The untouched southern end -

Bukit Tenggek in 2003 & 2011 -

2014 from west side -

 and 1997 view -


Both hills have caves and are home to endemic flora and fauna. Of special interest, Bukit Tenggek is home to a snail, Hypselostoma elephas, listed on IUCN Red List as critically endangered. Another critically endangered endemic snail is Plectostoma tenggekensis. More on the snails on Red Orbit and Washington Post.
The hill is also home to Calciphilopteris alleniae, a fern known from only 5 limestone hills in the peninsula. Paraboea bakeri is an endemic species, it can be found only in small shaded populations on the limestone hills in two localities; Bukit Sagu and Bukit Tenggek, see FRIM report.
See more on Siputkuning blog.

These 2 hills are also archaeological sites. Gua Sagu was investigated briefly by Tweedie in 1935, he found pottery and stone implements. Then more recently in 1990 and 1991, staff from the Centre for Archaeological Research, USM and the Department of Museums and Antiquities, made excavations in Gua Sagu and Gua Tenggek. They found a lot of stone tools and some pottery/earthernware and food remains in Gua Sagu. Gua Tenggek revealed similar finds. They concluded that the sites were occupied during the Pleistocene around 14,000 years ago by a Palaeolithic group of people. See ref.


UPDATE May 2015
IUCN published a report on global species and the snail Plectostoma sciaphilum that was found on Bukit Panching was mentioned. This hill has been completely quarried.

My photo of Bukit Panching taken 1993




By 2019 both hills were almost completely destroyed and apparently by 2020 were gone. See Twitter .
So it looks like the endemic snail could be no more.


© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission

9 August 2014

Pigeons at Gunung Kanthan

There are a lot of pigeons on the southeast end of Gunung Kanthan, especially in the area by the fish ponds and the Chinese temple. And the numbers of pigeons seem to be increasing.

Gunung Kanthan is the northernmost limestone hill in the Kinta Valley, Perak, Malaysia and is being quarried by Lafarge, (see the various blogs by searching the labels).

The floor around the base of the hill near the Zhi Nan Gong (red) temple is covered with pigeon guano and the stench is quite strong. There are also lots of feathers and eggs on the floor. Apart from the numerous pigeons here, there are also a lot roosting in and around the entrance to Gua Kanthan. The entrance slope into the cave is also covered with eggs and feathers and guano,


Pigeons, aka rock pigeons, roost on cliffs and rock ledges, so Gunung Kanthan is a natural home for them. I don't know why they are especially abundant on this hill.

On 8 August 2014 there was an interesting article in the Daily Mail (UK) about pigeons at a cave in Gibraltar, "Neanderthals loved roast pigeon! 70,000-year-old charred bones reveal barbecue bird was a favourite caveman delicacy".

© Liz Price
No reproduction without permission