Two team members from International Animal Rescue (IAR), Sarbi and Sudin, joined us in the Sabangau Forest to learn more about orangutan nest surveys from our expert and Forestry Coordinator, Santi. They stayed for four days in the nearby village of Kereng Bangkirai and joined Santi in the forest each day for training.
Sarbi and Sudin are the orangutan monitoring and survey staff of IAR and they came to us to improve their technical skills in nest surveys. IAR choose Borneo Nature Foundation to do a staff exchange programme because we carry out monthly nest surveys to monitor the orangutan population density in the Sabangau Forest. Over the past 20 years, we have been developing our skills and expertise in these type of surveys, which helps us to estimate the size and density of a population based on counting the number of orangutan sleeping nests that can be seen in the forest canopy.
Counting orangutan nests takes some practice. On the first day, the IAR team were able to find 19 nests, but Santi and the team spotted 43 nests. Following a few days of intensive training and experience, they were able to find almost the same number as our team.
Santi taught Sarbi and Sudin about how to identify the difference between a bird’s nest, sun bear nest, and orangutan nest by looking at the shape. They also learned how to walk along the transect and carry out the nest survey at the same time – not an easy thing to do in a peat-swamp forest! The IAR team greatly improved their technique during their time with us.
One of the main goals of Borneo Nature Foundation is to build capacity for science and conservation in Indonesia. By sharing our skills and knowledge, and providing scientific training to other organisations we can support the conservation efforts for protecting wildlife throughout Borneo and further afield.