Carrying on from my previous blog highlighting the female orangutans at my research site Sikundur, this week it’s the turn of the males who call the site “home.” I’ve been fortunate enough to encounter a large number of these guys over the past year, perhaps due to the site’s position of the edge of the national park compressing these animals’ home range as they suffer the effects of rampant deforestation across the Leuser Ecosystem.
Credit: James Askew
The Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project in Borneo is besieged and under threat from raging forest fires
Despite the work of conservationists, poaching and habitat destruction are still major problems in North Sumatra
The past couple of months have been excellent for our data collection, as we've encountered a number of parties of orangutans. This is a more common occurrence in the high productivity forests of Sumatra, where we’re working, than on Borneo, where animals tend to be much more dispersed due to limitations in food availability.
Editor's Note: This is the second part of a two-part post about using drone technology to search for orangutans around the Sikundur research station in North Sumatra.
One of the most interesting areas the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) is currently working on is mapping, monitoring and surveying orangutan habitats around the island using drones.
In order to get more information about the forest here at the Sikundur research station in North Sumatra, I've set up four camera traps, which I'm using to get a better look at the wildlife around the site.
This last month has been extremely stressful for all of us at Sikundur research station in North Sumatra while we've been following two of our favorite orangutans, Suci and her 3-year-old infant Siboy.
In my previous post, I wrote about the first task in studying orangutan behavior: finding the animals. In this one I'll explain the second major task: following them.
While many animal researchers use fancy scientific methods to analyze data and samples they've collected, the mechanics of virtually every animal behavior study begins with finding an animal or animals and recording its or their behavior at a given interval to produce what's called an ethogram.
It has been an exceptionally exciting and productive first month for me at the Sikundur research station. I couldn't have asked for much more in terms of data, and it's been so hectic that sitting here in Medan, the capital city of North Sumatra, it seems like far longer than a month since I started!
It's taken a bit longer than I'd initially anticipated, but I'm finally at my first field site, Sikundur in North Sumatra, which will be my home for the next eight months.
Having made it to Sumatra, the first location for my field research, I've endured another frustrating few weeks waiting for yet more permits to come through.
JAKARTA, INDONESIA--As an international researcher, one of the most important aspects, and indeed one of the biggest challenges, of the job is obtaining permits from the government of the country in which you're working and residing.
I'm writing this post while waiting at the gate for my flight from LAX to Indonesia. To anyone that knows me (especially my advisors, former teachers, and long-suffering parents) this last minute approach will not come as any sort of surprise.
This week I'll swap the traffic and sunshine of Los Angeles for the rainforests of Indonesia, where I'll be living for the next 18 months. The reason for my long trip is to collect data for my PhD dissertation studying orangutans, and I'm excited to be writing this expedition blog which I hope will give [...]