In the final week of April, 3 Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF) Scientists; Eka Cahyaningrum (Primate Scientist), Supian (Research Coordinator for red langur), and Azis (Research Coordinator for gibbon) flew to Central Java to attend the Discussion Series on Primates hosted by SwaraOwa, a local NGO in Pekalongan Regency, Central Java.
The three were invited to share their research experiences and practices on gibbon and red langur monkeys to local audiences that were curious about long-term and varied research activities carried out in the lowland forest of Borneo. The discussion took place at the undergoing constructions of edu-tourism location in Welo Asri which serves as the habitat for Javanese Gibbons.
That one-day event on 27 April 2018 was fully attended by more than 40 audiences who shared the same interest on primates. The audiences were from the Natural Resources Conservation Agencies (shortened as BKSDA), Forest Extension officers, the Group of Tourism Awareness (Pokdarwis), and the nature lovers from the local universities that came with their strong curiosity to find out the research focus in BNF.
Arif Setiawan, SwaraOwa Project Leader, initiated the discussion series by inviting BNF scientists as the speakers for that very first Conservation Discussion in the region. The aim of this was to bring together primate experts in order to encourage local people in Central Java or Pekalongan in particular where edu-tourism spot situated as a home for Javanese gibbons to fully understand the importance of primate existence in the region.
“It is amazing to find out how scientific data of primates are collected in the peat-swamp forest of Borneo as the basic understanding of biodiversity management,” Arif Setiawan wrote on SwaraOwa’s official blog. Expectedly this conservation discussion could stimulate strong motivations for the audiences to keep protecting the environment.
The research of primates in BNF has been long-established. Related to Gibbon, our scientist Dr. Susan M. Cheyne has been recently nominated to receive the prestigious Zoological Society of London (ZSL) Marsh Award in Conservation Biology for her extensive works on Gibbons throughout the regions in Indonesia particularly Kalimantan where the research focus is centered.
“The participants of the discussion were very enthusiastic to listen to us because we have various research topics in BNF that includes home range mapping, population survey, and behavioural studies,” said Eka, BNF primate scientist.
Azis and Supian, research coordinators for red langur (or locally named Kelasi) and Bornean Gibbons (named owa Kalimantan by local people), mostly shared about their field experience in assisting research and environmental conditions of the peatland during the wet and dry conditions that may affect research activities in the forest. In general, Eka shared about the new findings that they found while following the primates in the forest such as the type of the calls that the primates make in the forest and unique baby-mother interactions.
Although the spongy peatland sometimes gets your feet stuck inside the watery hole while following primates, the track is still possible to reach compared to the mountainous geographical condition of primate habitat in Java which makes it difficult to follow. Consequently, this leads to limited research topics on primate which is only on primate population survey.
By participating in this discussion series, BNF scientists have opened up research communication to the other local regions of Indonesia be it the organizations working on the same interest or public in general. It’s good to let people know the research and how it is carried out by our scientists. Therefore, it is expected that shared information can lead into new connections and ideas that could stimulate to the future research and possible collaborations. (AE)