As an initial step in our Rungan River Orangutan Conservation Programme, the Borneo Nature Foundation began a collaborative research expedition with the Muhammadiyah University of Palangka Raya (UMP) this month. This expedition is being conducted in the Mungku Baru Education Forest, which is managed by UMP, and our multi-national team includes BNF scientists and volunteers, UMP students and researchers, and scientists from the University of Exeter.
During this expedition, we will assess orangutan and gibbon population density and distribution, describe the forest habitat types and the environmental factors governing this, and compile a biodiversity inventory for the area. This will enable us to begin piecing together the scientific evidence needed to outline the area’s conservation potential and advocate for its protection. BNF’s volunteers and students from UMP will form an important part of this expedition, helping to collect the necessary data, while simultaneously providing them with training opportunities to build their understanding of forest ecology and research methods.
Prior to the start of the expedition, we were invited to attend an audience with the UMP Rector, Drs. H. Bulkani, M.Pd, and Vice Rector, Drs. H. Supardi, M.Pd, together with our UMP research counterpart and Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Ibu Siti Mainumah. In the meeting, we outlined our research plans for the expedition and beyond, to understand and help protect this important landscape.
BNF Co-Director, Dr Mark Harrison, explains “It was a great pleasure and honour to be given the opportunity to present our expedition and post-expedition research and conservation plans to the University’s highest authority, and to receive their support. We are extremely excited to begin and work alongside UMP students on this expedition, and we can’t wait to see what we may discover”.
Check our blog for updates from the field as the expedition progresses!