on the first day at Mandor—another
wasteland where the natural habitat
of flora and fauna had been destroyed
by mining activity. We saw a patch of
freshwater swamp forest at the edge of
an abandoned mining site. To reach it,
we had to walk a very long distance to
bypass a large, polluted lake.
By the time we reached the swamp,
the sky turned dark again. I do not
understand why the weather pattern in
Borneo is so different now from what it
used to be. Since the last rainy season,
it has rained almost every day—it seems
there is no more dry season here. I
would guess that global warming is
causing this strange weather pattern.
There were a lot of fallen trees and
broken tree branches, and thorny Pandan
plants were everywhere in the swamp. It
is not easy to collect fish in this type
of swamp, where you can hardly find a
good spot to stand, much less catch fish.
Nevertheless, I managed to collect a few
juveniles of Betta anabatoides and Betta
rutilans. After spending half an hour in
the swamp, it rained heavily. We went
back to Pontianak after that.
Collecting fish in a blackwater ditch near the Anjungan peat swamp.
An Eden for Fighting Fish
The next day, I bought a bus ticket to
return to Kuching. I hoped that I could
come back as soon as possible to search
for other species of Betta in Kalimantan.
The Kapuas River basin is indeed an Eden
for wild fighting fish, which can survive
well in the disturbed area, even though the
natural habitats have been destroyed by so
much human activity.