biodiversity

Wild cats and more! at the Pondok Ambung Research Site

This year the Foundation received a grant from the Rufford Foundation for a Camera Trap Programme at Pondok Ambung. This is an important development, as this research site is within the Tanjung Puting National Park (protected since 1982). Foundation staff have helped protect the park and the site since 1998. With this duration of protection, the park and its biodiversity has remained mostly undisturbed – a pristine forest in Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. The Foundation has hosted many students at Pondok Ambung - a chance for Indonesian students to conduct biodiversity research. Now with these cameras, we can catch a glimpse into more elusive wildlife...

Earlier this year, 10 camera traps were installed within the research site. The Foundation ensured there was no human activity in the study area for two months before the camera traps were installed. This lack of disturbance encourages more animals to travel past the camera traps. Foundation staff carefully selected the positions for the traps, and our hard work paid off!

Just one month after the camera traps were set up, we are excited to see the first collection of photos...  as well as those shown below, we also have seen crestless fireback (Lophura erythrophthalma), lesser mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus), Bornean red muntjac (Muntiacus muntjac), pig-tailed macaque (Macaca nemestrina) and the Malayan porcupine (Hystrix brachyura)!

Macan dahan (Neofelis diardi)

Babi hutan (Sus barbatus)

gBinturong-(Artictis binturong)

Kucing kuwuk (Prionaliourus bengalensis)

Musang (Viverra tangalunga)

Sempidan biru (Lophura ignita)

To get a snap shot into the lives of these rare and endangered species is truly special and important. Many of these creatures may be more endangered than currently listed (on IUCN Redlist – click here), so knowing where different species roam, and estimates of population size, are crucial.

It's fantastic to see this much biodiversity within 30 days. In this location, there is much potential for further scientific analysis. We look forward to future results - who knows what else we will see! To support the Foundation’s scientific research and the protection of orangutan habitat, please donate here or get in touch!

Camera trapping to save species

The Orangutan Foundation are proud to be partners of a groundbreaking Camera Trapping Project with Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia (Yayorin) and The Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop) - allowing us to document animals that have never been seen before in the remote and highly diverse area of Belantikan Hulu. Here, Susan Cheyne, co-coordinator of the project, tells us about the initial results... Check out the stunning footage we got; sun bears here, an orangutan here and a pangolin here.

"July 2014 sees the end of 2 years of camera trapping in 6 forests across Kalimantan. 160 camera traps were set out covering at total of almost 700km2 of rainforest. The final forest to be surveyed was started in February 2014 in collaboration with Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia (Yayorin) and the Orangutan Foundation UK (OFUK).

Orangutan Belantikan (5)

Clouded Leopard Cam C21 20-03-2014 0457h

The Belantikan-Arut area in Central Kalimantan, whose core area is Belantikan Hulu, is a spectacular landscape spanning 5,000km2 hectares across Central and West Kalimantan, is known to contain the largest single population of orangutans outside of protected areas.

The results of this work are very exciting. Not only were Sunda clouded leopards confirmed in this forest but also the elusive banteng. The banteng is a large and rare wild cattle species and is endemic to Borneo but is not widespread across the island.

Banteng Belantikan  (21)

Sambar deer Belantikan (26)

Of course orang-utans featured on the camera traps, adding to the recent information that the man of the forest in fact spends a lot of time on the ground. Not only were large males caught on camera but juveniles and mothers and infants travelling on the ground.

Of great interest is the number of deer and bearded pigs especially the majestic Sambar deer, largest of the 5 species on Borneo. Good eating for a clouded leopard!

Red langur Belantikan (1)

The white-fronted langur (see closely related species - the red langur - pictured above) is normally swinging up in the canopy, but like many primates, also comes to the ground. This species has a very patchy distribution across western Borneo and confirmation of the presence in Belantikan is important new information.

Sun bear Belantikan (1)

Sun bears are the smallest of all the world’s bears and have the longest tongue of any bear! Females generally have 1-2 cubs each year. We were fortunate to have surveyed during the time of year when cubs are venturing out and about with their mother and captured some wonderful photos and videos of their interactions.

Yellow-throated marten Belantikan (3)

The little yellow-throated marten is apparently widely distributed throughout Borneo but not much is known about these animals. Living alone or in pairs, they are active at both day and night. Although listed as IUCN Red List Least Concern, nothing is known about the population numbers on Borneo.

Pangolin Belantikan

Camera traps provide an amazing and unique view into the wildlife of the forests we are working to protect. Almost each photo provides new information about behaviour, distribution or activity of these animals."

Check out our recent blog for more amazing photos, or get in touch about any of our projects!

Borneo's biodiversity; the Orangutan Foundation Research site

The new face to the Pangkalan Bun Indonesian office is Pak Arie. As our new manager for Pondok Ambung - Station for Tropical Research. The research site has been vital for many studies since 2005, including proboscis monkeys, fish, butterflies, the false gharial, orangutans and the stunning variety of bird life. Please do share on this post with your friends and family! Check out our facebook account and twitter account to keep in touch with us!

Pak Arie has already been a good addition to the team, keen to develop Pondok Ambung – new posters have been sent out to Indonesian universities about the research grants available – and you in the UK can apply too! Pak Arie recently re-surveyed the site, telling us more about two less studied species…

We think of tarantulas as primarily South American, but Borneo also have their own species - the Sweet Brown Tarantula (Aphonopelma Sp.).

Sweet Brown TarantulaOur team regularly see these nests in the day time, but would have to wait till dark to observe these arachnids nocturnal behaviour.

We are proud of the work we are doing on the ground, but there what about species living on the ground?! The Ling Zhi mushroom (Ganoderma sp.) was recently highlighted as an important species growing at Pondok Ambung.

Fungi - Pondok Ambung Nov 11

Within tropical areas, there is a high species diversity of macroscopic fungi, mostly unstudied within remote Indonesian forests. Data and literature on macroscopic fungi generally details those in subtropical regions that have different qualities than those in the tropics. Fungi perform essential role in maintaining the balance and composition of the soil, acting as a decomposer, which in turn helps fertilization. Fungi also can be used as drugs for their multiple medicinal uses. For example, Ling Jhi are fungi that have been cultivated in many countries such as Japan and China. Since 1999 these fungi have been used by an Indonesian company as herbal ingredients.

Dr Mark Fellowes Fungi 2

Swimming peacefully through the rivers near Pondok Ambung, the black rayed softshell turtle (Amyda cartilaginea/ Trionyx cartilaginous or Labi-labi in Indonesian) might pass you by.

Black Rayed Softshell Turtle

Turtles can be studied around the pier of Pondok Ambung. These are stunning creatures when you look at their shells, but with odd faces! They are active either day or night, usually requiring a muddy area to lay and hatch their eggs activities. Listed as vulnerable by IUCN, it’s always welcome news when we hear about sightings from the field. Pictured here, the team are measuring the turtle for our research records.

Scientific research grants from the Orangutan Foundation

The first research grant was given back in 1993 and since then we've supported projects that have varied widely on the species of Central Kalimantan. Projects have ranged from research into the biodiversity of fish in the Tanjung Puting National Park river , to groundbreaking orangutan behavioural projects. Some of these behavioural projects were the starting point to various research that is now full time. Indeed, many of our grant recipients have gone on to establish themselves as full time researchers and professors!

Recently, the grants have been given solely to Indonesian students, increasing the way in which the Orangutan Foundation support and work with local communities to save biodiverse habitat, including the home of the glorious red ape. Recent studies include looking into the mating habits of proboscis monkey. This renowned species is classed as endangered, living along the riversides in the Tanjung Puting National Park and threatened by many of the same threats which are contributing to the decline of wild orangutans. In the past decade, we funded the study of the feeding behavior and estimated home ranges of released orangutans in the Lamandau River Wildlife Reserve which we protect. This information is vital to all organisations who release orangutans to understand what fruit and types of habitat are preferred by rehabilitated individuals. If rehabilitated individuals remain unstressed when reintroduced to the wild - due to good quality, well chosen habitat - their chance of survival is greatly increased. For other titles of research projects, please see our website here...

Many of the projects are based at our research station - Pondok Ambung (please click) - located within Tanjung Puting National Park, sitting off the side of the beautiful Sekonyer Kanan black-water river. This station is newly refurbished with perfect facilities and dedicated staff-team to ensure any research conducted becomes an informative and enjoyable project! This national park facility has been developed and maintained by the Orangutan Foundation and was designed for visiting researchers to come and study the park’s diverse flora and fauna.

We are excited to see what future research will be supported by the Orangutan Foundation. As projects discover more and more, they also always contribute to protecting those all important areas for Indonesian's biodiversity to flourish. 

Thank you for any support toward Orangutan Foundation's research projects!