Stuck in the jungle

Have you ever wondered how our Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) Team in East Kalimantan transports all their equipment through the Bornean rainforest? To say the least, it’s challenging. It’s a long journey to reach our two camps in the Kehje Sewen Forest. That’s why we only deliver supplies at the end of each month.

The trip starts at our small office in the Muara Wahau District. Once the truck is loaded, it usually takes four hours via a sloping riverbank at the 67-kilometre mark, which we call Dermaga (Pier) 67. This is the point where the team from the camp picks up their logistics by boat. From Pier 67, the travel time to Nles Mamse Camp is around five minutes, whilst the trip to Camp Lesik in the north requires a much longer travel time.

Not an easy fix. But our team got the job done.

As you can imagine, things don’t always go smoothly. At the end of last month, for example, the truck broke down just a few hundred meters from the pier. The overwhelming load, the vehicle’s age, and the extremely challenging dirt road all contributed to serious damage to the suspension.

Stuck in the middle of nowhere with no phone signal, our driver could not inform the team at the camp which was supposed to meet him at the pier. However, the staff quickly realised that there must be a problem. They decided to walk in the direction the truck usually comes from and, sure enough, soon found the broken-down vehicle.

Team members are carrying the lighter supplies to the camp on foot.

Repairing trucks in the forest is by no means an easy or quick task, no matter how experienced the field personnel are. By then, it was late in the afternoon. So what to do? The team decided to take the lighter supplies, like groceries, to the camp and store the heavier equipment in a nearby hut. The following day they repaired the truck and delivered the remaining load.

As you can see, there is never a dull day when working in the jungle. We will keep you updated with more stories from our orangutan monitoring team, deep in the Bornean rainforest.

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There are lots of ways you can support orangutans and help ensure the survival of this precious ape.

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Orangutans are endangered and at risk of extinction. Habitat destruction means hundreds of orphan orangutans need to care for every year. You can help by adopting one. Their dedicated ‘nannies’ teach them everything they need to know for when it’s time to release them back to the wild. You can follow their progress through Forest School.

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