Meet Azis K: OuTrop’s Gibbon Project Coordinator

Hello Monday Blog

BD (2) - Sabangau Forest - Carolyn Thompson - 2014

Photo: Carolyn Thompson/BNF

My name is Azis K and I am from the village of Kereng Bangkirai (the closest village to the Sabangau Forest). I am the Gibbon Project Coordinator for BNF’s Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop). I have worked with OuTrop for six years; before this I worked as a builder for two years, during this time I always enjoyed going into the forest.

In 2010, I was asked to join OuTrop to help with the Red Langur Research Project. I worked with the red langur team for around two years, after which I started to work on all of OuTrop’s research projects.

The first time I saw red langur monkeys I thought they were quite odd; they are red with a long tail and a black face! During that time there were two people called Azis working for OuTrop, so I started to put a K at the end of my name for Azis Kelasi (the local name for red langurs). I don’t work specifically for the kelasi project now, but the name ‘Azis K’ has stuck!

I have worked as the Gibbon Project Coordinator since 2015. In this job, my favourite moment is the time in the forest when it is very early in the morning (we leave camp at 4:30am), there is a clear sky and lots of birds and gibbons are singing. I like to see sunrise, with a little bit of wind; like the forest is happy. On mornings like that of course it’s going to be a good day!

Azis K 6

Photo: Chris Owen/BNF

I think people can learn a lot from the animals in the forest, like gibbons are always with their family and they always protect each other. From red langurs we can see all adults in a group taking care of all the infants. We see interspecies interactions, like when gibbon infants play with orangutans. It reminds me of people from different countries working together.

For the future I would like to research more about how gibbon groups change over time; how their home ranges change and group demographics evolve as individuals are born, leave the family or may die. I am also keen to learn more from all of Borneo Nature Foundation’s conservation and research projects.

Written with assistance from BNF Gibbon and Red Langur Scientist, Cara Wilcox