If you have read stories about our Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) teams, you will know that these groups of dedicated orangutan warriors are responsible for monitoring, observing, and collecting data on released orangutans. However, the role of a PRM team member encompasses many other important tasks and duties.
In addition to monitoring orangutans in the wild, our PRM technicians also collect environmental data, such as daily rainfall amounts and temperatures, and conduct regular phenological surveys. The latter involves collecting data on flowering and fruiting plants in the forest, to help predict the availability of food for orangutans. Our teams most impressive feat, however, is that they must do all this work while living in a remote, off-grid monitoring camp, deep within the jungles of Borneo.
To be able to work efficiently and live comfortably the PRM team members must keep their camps in tiptop shape. Three areas, in particular, require regular maintenance: the camp structure itself, the electrical system, and the water system.
Maintenance of the camp structures is conducted monthly, with cleaning of the walls, floors, roofs, and fences. Repairs are made as necessary at both camps in the Kehje Sewen Forest, with the most frequent repairs involving the replacement of the tin roofing and wooden floorboards.
In terms of electrical consumption, our teams rely on solar panels and generators to fulfil their daily energy requirements. Frequently, the technicians have to prove themselves versatile and repair the generator themselves. BOSA and BOSUK are currently working with an experienced volunteer from the UK on a renewable energy plan to totally remove the need for generators.
One of the advantages of living and working in the rainforest is the availability of water. Rivers function as transportation lanes, as well as being the source of freshwater. Our teams utilise water from the rivers next to the camps for their daily use. To accomplish this, a system comprised of a pump, pipes, and water storage tanks makes the water easily accessible. Every day, our orangutan warriors must run their water pump to fill the storage tank in addition to regularly cleaning all of the supporting infrastructures.
Camp maintenance days are actually something our team members look forward to, as they enjoy working side by side to clean their living and working spaces. During this pandemic, extra precautions have been taken, including more frequent and thorough disinfection. Through the tactic of ‘divide and conquer,’ the assorted tasks are distributed amongst the different team members, and everybody works together to get the job done. Way to go, orangutan warriors!