We’re Back!

Apologies for the long silence.  I went away for a couple of weeks over Easter, timing my return to coincide with the next reporting period (which seem to come around all too often!).  We have to report on our activities, for both donors and the Indonesian Government, every three months and March ends the first quarter of the year.   The good news for me was, in my absence, the team have just about finished the various reports – gold stars all round.  What is more amazing is finding out what happened while I was away.  Astri attended a number of meetings designed to harmonize the (Central Government) Forestry Department’s spatial plans with the provincial plan.  The end result of these meetings is that the borders of the Lamandau Wildlife Reserve will be adjusted to incorporate a large block of surrounding forest. 

Map 1

This is fantastic news!  Not only is more forest protected, it dramatically increases the number of potential release sites and will make patrolling and monitoring much simpler.  Well done to all! 

Devis’ report on Pondok Ambung, Tanjung Puting National Park (TPNP) covers not only the fire but also the recent arrival of four Indonesian students; two of whom will be conducting research at Pondok Ambung, while the other two will be observing orangutans around Camp Leakey.  They found very fresh scratch marks made by a sun bear.

Sun Bear Scratch Marks

Sun bear scratch marks 

Sun bears are the smallest of all the true bears, being approximately the size of a Labrador.  They have amazingly long sharp claws which they use to rip through bark to get at insects and honey.  It is interesting to note the local Dayaks consider the sun bear the most dangerous animal in the forest, because of their habit of attacking rather than running if startled.  Sadly though they are the rarest of bears, endangered through hunting and habitat loss. 

Teguh wrote about the activities of the Buluh Kecil and Buluh Besar river guard posts, in TPNP, which he supervises.  They have clearly been busy at the Buluh Kecil. 

 Buluh Kecil

Buluh Kecil Guard Post 

During the month, in addition to the routine patrolling, they have started clearing an access trail from the post to the village of Teluk Pulai some 7 km away.  They have also mapped the reforestation site at the back of the post (reforestation is the major activity at this post, as the surrounding area was badly burnt in the fires of late 2006).  Some 10 hectares have already been replanted, though survival rate is not encouraging. We hope to improve this programme when we plant the next batch of saplings which have been grown onsite. What neither Teguh or Devis mentioned was getting lost.  They were intending to walk from the Pesalat Camp to the orangutan release camp, Pondok Tanggui.

As Bhayu narrates:

 Devis and Teguh had crazy plan to walked from pesalat to pondok tanggui, using existing trail that they never walked previously. I tried to ask them not to but they insisted, rely on the GPS. So they got lost. After we arrived at Pondok tanggui at 16.00, we gathered the search party. We shouted at each other, but no encountered, so we went back to pondok tanggui at 23.00 and devis and teguh had to spent the night at the forest. We pick them up in the morning, exhausted and they felt so stupid i bet.” 

I can see why that wasn’t mentioned in their reports! 

Pondok Tanggui

 Pondok Tanggui 1

Both photos of Pondok Tanggui 

Now, thank you and some replies. 

Thank you Theresa S. for your latest and generous donation of $100 and Hannah for your offer of support - the London office may be in touch. Elizabeth, thank you for your donation made on 3rd March, if you haven’t already done so, please could you confirm with Wildlife Direct that it was for the Orangutan Foundation (!).   Brigitta, fantastic that you are going to visit TPNP and thank you for your offer of bringing supplies to Indonesia.  Having discussed it with the UK office, their suggestion is to keep it simple and rather posting things from the UK to Switzerland, if you could buy some chewable children’s multi-vitamins that would be perfect.  They are always in demand at the Orangutan Care Centre & Quarantine.  Closer to the time, we can make arrangements to meet up.   

Lastly, on my holiday I took advantage of a fast internet connection to download Google Earth (as well as looking at this site.  Do you know, our dial up connection in Indonesia is so slow I can rarely see my own page?!).  If you have Google Earth you can type in Tanjung Puting Indonesia and the National Park will come up.  Lamandau is not listed but if you are really keen, I will give you some coordinates so you can find it. 

Again, thank you for your support and apologies for the silence.