Early morning, when most people are still enjoying their good night’s sleep, we are already up, leaving camp and going into the forest. We make sure to arrive before orangutans get up and leave their nest. It is not an easy task, but this is our contribution to mother nature. It may be a small, but we believe great things start from something small.
Day to day, we try to match the agility of the orangutans. Quite often we have to follow them up and down the cliff. It’s really challenging and exhausting at the same time. But that’s what we do to ensure that the orangutans are fine, healthy and happy.
During the day, when our energy is low and drowsiness begins to attack, we have no choice but to continue to follow these orangutans. However, we love what we do and we simply shake off our sleepiness by joking around with one another. Nevertheless, we must also remain focused on the orangutans because if we miss a moment, we will lose track of them. We also keep taking pictures of the orangutans, because observing orangutan is a fun and it is delightful to capture many of their playful and amusing behaviors.
We find many interesting things every day. It’s amazing to see how orangutans eat young rattan leaves (Calamus manan) and how they manipulate the rattans to avoid getting any of the thorns in their mouths. Then, they will continue to explore the forest in search of food. Orangutans are also very skillful navigator and they always remember the areas that they have passed.
When evening comes, we wait until the orangutans finish making their nest. Even though mosquitoes and hagas (a kind of small mosquitoes) begin biting our faces, hands and legs, we don’t give up before we are sure that the orangutans sleep in the nests. After ensuring the orangutans peacefully sleep in the nests, we walk back to camp. Our duty that day is finished, we are so glad to see the orangutans are able to survive in their true home.
We always face joy and pain together, because togetherness is our strength. We support and complement each other. Here we were, doing something that is hopefully useful to the nation and, of course, the orangutans. We can’t wait for tomorrow and learn many more new things from these wonderful orangutans!