July has been a busy month, hence my lack of posts (apologies) and it looks set to continue into August. This has definitely been Pondok Ambung’s month. Pondok Ambung is the Tropical Forest Research Station we operate inside Tanjung Puting National Park.
Pondok Ambung is set in a beautiful location on the Sekonyer River, TPNP.
I have already told you of Rene’s study on crocodiles but I think it completely slipped by to tell you that the University of Reading's ‘Summer School’ were here earlier this month. This is the second year, Reading University have run a ten-day field course at Pondok Ambung. It is always great to see students getting out of the classroom and into the forest. I hope it inspires them. They were certainly captivated by the orangutans and gibbons.
Pondok Ambung visitors; orangutans, gibbons, and humans -whose watching who?
And just to prove there are always new experiences to be had, the day Brigitta (who contacted us through Wildlife Direct) was with us at Pondok Ambung, we found a tree that had been absolutely torn apart. You will have seen photos of the damage sun bears can do to trees in one of my earlier posts. Orangutans will also tear off bark to either get at sap or insects. But, on this tree, half the bark had been shorn off and huge chunks of heartwood pulled out. If it was an orangutan or a bear, I would not want to meet them!
It was Rene who gave us the answer: the tree had been struck by lightening (he said there had been an almighty thunder clap and lightening flash the day before). That was why the wood appeared to have exploded outwards. Still it was incredible there was no sign of burning. Despite the downpour, I would have thought a million plus volts would have at least singed the leaves…