The Himba Pambelum Monitoring Camp is officially opened. The inauguration ceremony happened after the release of four orangutans into the Bukit Baka Bukit Raya National Park (TNBBBR) at the Hiran River site.
Witnessing the release and inauguration were the Head of the TNBBBR Agency, Andi Muhammad Kadhafi, and BOS Foundation CEO, Dr Jamartin Sihite.
This solemn event began with a traditional ceremony led by a mantir, a local official who assists the damang (sacred leader) at the sub-district level. The ceremony was a symbolic gesture of goodwill and acceptance of the release team entering the area. According to local lore, it would also prevent negative energy from entering the Himba Pambelum (‘Forest of Life’) Monitoring Camp.
This particular ceremony is sacred and unique to the local Dayak community. During the ceremony, the mantir and release team were held off by a length of bamboo wrapped in cloth, placed in front of the monitoring camp’s entrance. The release team was not permitted to pass the bamboo barrier until the ceremony concluded.
The ritual began with chanting, followed by the distribution of special Dayak klawung, or head coverings, to several release team members. The mantir who led the ceremony then enquired about the reason for the release team’s arrival to the area, which Andi, the Head of the TNBBBR Agency, promptly answered. The ceremony ended with singing and the sacrifice of a chicken.
Andi, representing the TNBBBR Agency, was then asked to cut through the length of bamboo with a Mandau blade and to step on an egg placed on the stairs. As the monitoring team members entered the camp, they were sprinkled with purifying water by the mantir. This part of the ceremony is called the Potong Pantan or Tetek Pantan.
After the procession, the Himba Pambelum Monitoring Camp was officially opened for use. It will now support the orangutan reintroduction process and the local surrounding communities.
For more information about our work, please visit our website.