In 2012 oil palm and timber interests turned their eyes on the Ulu Sungai Menyang landscape at Batang Ai. Borneo Adventure works with four Iban communities in this area. Thanks to the Red Ape Trail and other treks we knew orangutans lived in this forest.
We therefore initiated a series of meetings with stakeholders. It was decided to conduct orangutan surveys to provide proof that orangutans lived in this area. We funded the first of these surveys. Our tour guides and community partners took part in a series of surveys in 2012 and 2013. The research confirmed the presence of up to 200 orangutans living outside the boundaries of Batang Ai National Park. In April 2013 the Sarawak Government announced that the Ulu Sungai Menyang would be protected.
Today we periodically take part on orangutan surveys with partners such as WCS Malaysia and Sarawak Forestry. Some of our guides and their guests also record orangutan sightings on tours. The information collected includes the date and time of sighting, GPS location, name of the observers, name of Borneo Adventure’s guide and the type of tour. The GPS data is also passed to researchers at WCS Malaysia.
We started recording sightings on tours in mid-2013 as a pilot project but soon realized we needed to train more guides. We suspended the initiative in 2014 and trained more guides. Orangutan mapping re-started in 2015. At present the focus is on the trails around Lubok Kasai and the Red Ape Trail.
If you wish to find out more about Borneo Adventure’s initiative to map orangutan sightings at Batang Ai please contact: [email protected].
For an update on how we are changing the way we record orangutan sightings please see this blog post