Written by Sophie Kirklin (BNF Orangutan Scientist)
Last week four members of the BNF team travelled to Bali to present our research outputs at the International Conference on Biodiversity organised by the Society for Indonesian Biodiversity. The team members were Abdul Azis (Orangutan Research Coordinator), Santiano (Forestry Coordinator), Suzanne Turnock (Communications Development Manager) and me (Sophie Kirklin, Orangutan Scientist).
Once in Bali, our first stop before the conference was Pelangi School.
The team visited the school to talk to the science class about orangutan behaviour. We showed videos of orangutans recorded in the Sabangau Forest over the past 14 years of our research. The videos highlighted key behaviours of orangutans, and also some unusual and interesting behaviours that we have observed. We shared stories from our own forest experiences, to accompany the videos.
We then led a discussion on what it means to be a scientist and explained how science is at the heart of conservation. We used BNF as an example and talked about how we use science as a tool to advise and improve our conservation work. Each member of the team spoke about their career pathway and how they came to join BNF. The resounding piece of advice to the students was that if you have a passion, then go for it and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t!
We took the opportunity to thank the school for their recent fundraising efforts to support our reforestation programme. We presented a thank you certificate and showed the students how their donations are helping reforestation of burnt and logged areas in Sabangau. We are also very grateful to Pelangi School as they have donated children’s books to be used in our Education Programme ‘Anak Sabangau’ in the village of Kereng Bangkirai.
Our next stop…the International Conference on Biodiversity, and time to hear all about the conference theme: ‘Roles of Biodiversity and Conservation Research under Global Climate Change’. The team participated in this conference to meet scientists and enthusiasts in this field, and also to share our research outputs.
We gave two presentations; a poster entitled ‘Behavioural and Home Range Changes in Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) in an Area Affected by the 2015 Forest Fires in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia’, which was presented and available for all conference participants to see, and an oral presentation entitled ‘Protecting flagship species: Conservation research in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia 1996-2017’.
The conference was packed with opportunities to listen to other scientists present their own research on a variety of topics! As well as learning about other primate research, including gibbons and slow lorises, we learnt about the impact of fires in shaping a landscape, the inextricable link between social-cultural and bio-diversity, dragonflies in Russia, orchids in Jogjakarta, zoopharmacology and ethnobotany, insect communities in the tropics and much, much more!
Final stop, a well-deserved rest! Before heading back to Borneo, the team visited the beach at Kuta, the perfect way to celebrate a successful and productive trip.