Sketch of Archilife Study Tour, December 2018
webmaster 2019-01-15 16 reads
For the study tour of December 15, 2018, Ms. Lu Ming-yun led 11 ARF interns and their parents on a tour to discover the secrets of the Formosan Sambar Deer and the underground empire of the ants in Taoyuan. At the start of the day's activities, team leader Ms. Lu Ming-yun reminded everyone about things to note and what to observe, and gave the interns some background knowledge.
The tour began with a visit to Sanjiao Deer Farm in the morning. The tour guide started off with a short animation film. It explained that deer shed their antlers every year, and each antler begins to divide into branches when the deer are two years old, finally forming three points and two branches. Deer antler velvet is the precalcified antler of the buck, and is mostly harvested from the sambar deer, sika deer and red deer by professionals when they are approximately two years old. The Formosan sambar deer has conspicuous preorbital glands (located under the eyes) which dilate when they are angry or excited, giving them the name of "four-eyed deer", and they are mainly used to secrete scent to establish their dominance or attract the opposite sex. The tour also included a race event, allowing interns to experience the difference in speed between a deer and human, and a milk feeding session which encouraged the interns to love and care for animals.
After lunch, everyone headed to Ant Home, an ecological museum which aims to promote the concept of environmental conservation and improving the home environment. The tour guide, Mr. Hou Xiu-wei, began by introducing ants as one of few species of social insects. Within each ant colony are four groups of ants, including the queens, workers, soldiers and male ants with identifiable characteristics and responsibilities. The tour guide taught everyone how to differentiate an ant nest and hornet nest; the former usually looks like a string of beads wrapped around a tree branch with many openings while the latter is hung on a tree branch with only one opening. The tour guide also warned of the risk of misjudging due to lighting. Thus, if one discovers such a nest during outdoor activities, one should leave it alone. When chased by hornets, it is prudent to run in the direction of the wind, or throw two handfuls of loose dirt toward them to block your scent and escape immediately. Next, the tour guide explained the hazards caused by red imported fire ants, and government regulations to prevent and solve the problem, and explained how to get rid of them by using natural, non-toxic method. In the final part of the tour, everyone was able to observe the characteristics and scent of different types of ants through the museum's artificial nests, and saw how the ants divide their labor capturing their prey and moving it when a worm was thrown near the nest. At this point, the day's itinerary came to an end. Everyone took a group photo before heading back and looked forward to the next study tour.