Camera traps

Intimate images of crocodile mother and her newborn hatchlings caught on camera

Reptiles may not be considered the most maternal of creatures, but newly hatched crocodiles are in fact looked after by their mothers until they are strong enough to fend for themselves- often for as long as two years!

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Our monitoring team located in Tanjung Puting National Park were fortunate enough to witness a mother and her nest using remote camera traps so as not to disturb her natural behaviour.

She was observed guarding the nest, listening to her young’s calls as they hatch, and then gently clearing a path for them to emerge from the undergrowth.

If you listen carefully, you can even hear the hatchlings calling from the nest.

Footage such as this is rarely seen, so to be able to use technology in order to witness this intimate behaviour without disturbing the animals is remarkable.

Once hatched and emerged from the nest, the young can be seen exploring their new home.

Hiding in plain sight: After a closer look, several hatchlings can be seen amongst the vegetation.

Hiding in plain sight: After a closer look, several hatchlings can be seen amongst the vegetation.

To be able see this behaviour is exciting for all of us, but also an indicator of the health of these important waterways. Watch this space for any future observations!

Researching fauna and flora in orangutan habitat, Indonesian Borneo

The tropical forests of Borneo and Sumatra provide far more than just a home for orangutans, they are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth. Our tropical forest research station, Pondok Ambung, is situated on the banks of the Sekonyer River in Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan , Indonesian Borneo.

Camera trap snaps a wild adult male orangutan.

Camera trap snaps a wild adult male orangutan.

Orangutan Foundation researchers monitor and track the health of this ecosystem and the species found here. Our drive to promote tropical forest ecology and conservation to Indonesian students, winning their hearts and support, is crucial to the future of the orangutan and Indonesia’s forests.

This blog post provides a snapshot of some of the species studied and the activities undertaken at Pondok Ambung this year. As you will see, many take place after dark.

Students from school SMAN 1 Pangkalan Bun on a forest night walk looking for signs of wildlife.

Students from school SMAN 1 Pangkalan Bun on a forest night walk looking for signs of wildlife.

Bornean Tarsier ( Tarsius bancanus boreanus ). A nocturnal primate found at Pondok Ambung Research Station, Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo. March 2019. Researchers also detect their presence by the scent of their urine.

Bornean Tarsier (Tarsius bancanus boreanus). A nocturnal primate found at Pondok Ambung Research Station, Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo. March 2019. Researchers also detect their presence by the scent of their urine.

Orangutan Foundation researchers fitting camera traps, which require constant maintenance in the humid conditions and with the odd interference from wildlife too!

Orangutan Foundation researchers fitting camera traps, which require constant maintenance in the humid conditions and with the odd interference from wildlife too!

Introducing high school students to camera traps.

Introducing high school students to camera traps.

Pig-tailed macaque ( Macaca nemestrina ) known locally as monyet beruk

Pig-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina) known locally as monyet beruk

False gharial crocodile ( Tomistoma  schlegelii) can reach more than 5m in length.

False gharial crocodile (Tomistoma schlegelii) can reach more than 5m in length.

Two excited crocodile researchers! Orangutan Foundation support their studies with a research grant.

Two excited crocodile researchers! Orangutan Foundation support their studies with a research grant.

Individual crocodiles are tagged and monitored.

Individual crocodiles are tagged and monitored.

Local high school students using traditional and new ways to identify species.

Local high school students using traditional and new ways to identify species.

Phenology studies. In March, observations along a transect found 25 species of tree flowering and fruiting, many orangutan food trees such as papung and ubar.

Phenology studies. In March, observations along a transect found 25 species of tree flowering and fruiting, many orangutan food trees such as papung and ubar.

Squirrel - feeds on fruit and nuts and can help to spread seeds when accidentally dropping them whilst gathering and carrying.

Squirrel - feeds on fruit and nuts and can help to spread seeds when accidentally dropping them whilst gathering and carrying.

Caught on camera, but who did it? Orangutan, bear, deer or pig?

Camera traps are a window into the fascinating and private lives of wildlife. Maintaining and keeping the cameras working in the hot humid and damp conditions of a rainforest is an ongoing challenge. Battling the elements is something our researchers are prepared for but they were shocked to find that one of the camera traps had been severely damaged, torn apart and discarded broken, 2 meters away from its original position. Who had done this?

Damaged camera trap

Damaged camera trap

What the culprit hadn’t realised was that the data before the incident was undamaged and so our researchers could look back and see who had been out and about! Their suspects were orangutan, sunbear, deer and wild pigs.

Orangutan

Orangutan

Sun bear

Sun bear

Was it a deer?

Was it a deer?

Wild pig

Wild pig

On closer examination there were bite marks on the camera and it had been pulled off the tree. A sun bear could pull it off but there weren’t any claw marks and these would be evident. We suspect it must have been an orangutan. They are a highly intelligent and curious species and this is why it probably wanted to inspect the unusual device it found in its forest home. This is alone is a reason we need to continue to find out about them and work to conserve them.