The Orangutan search

The last period of time I have been searching the forest for orangutans, instead of following them.

Sitting in the hammock, squeezing out the soaked socks after stepping into a mudhole

Sitting in the hammock, squeezing out the soaked socks after stepping into a mudhole

It’s easy to get tricked by all noise the forest evokes. Wind blows, and water drops from last nights rainfall reaches the ground with a “plupp”, a very similar sound to the one the orangutans make when they eat beans. This has made me walk many kilometers in vain in the swamp forest, and also given me plenty of mud in my boots.

The sun shining through in the morning on the boardwalk

The sun shining through in the morning on the boardwalk, picture in property of TORP

On one of the days I was searching I suddenly heard a forest machine.

It was coming closer and closer, quite rapidly. Then the bushes in front of me started to shake. And then I could hear more sounds. It came from animals “Gruh gruh, gruh!” The animals were running and the bush was shaking. I thought that hell would soon break loose!

The day before Yann had seen two orangutan males fighting – and if this was anything like this, I wouldn’t like to be in the middle of that fight! My blood got pumped with adrenaline.

I moved aside, tried to get out of the pathway of what was approaching me. The forest machine sounded louder than ever.

As I was moving, the animals heard me and changed direction. The forest machine stopped. Then, I see the a group of wild boars (Sus barbatus) just ten meters away while they were running.

I was totally busted!

Of course it was the sound of pigs squealing and not orangutans! And the forest machine was just a cicada, playing higher and higher over time. Actually, some of the cicada species here do sound very alike machines, but still – imagine how silly I felt. I tried to fetch the camera but just to annoy me even more – I could only capture a blurry picture of an ass. Not one of my prouder moments. It was nice to see some wild boars at least!

The wildboars butt

The wildboars butt

The last week in camp has been tough I’ve been searching and searching, but haven’t found any new orangutans! I’ve been looking everywhere, trying to use my stealth and hearing to the maximum to find them, but sometimes I guess that is not enough.

However, the searching days are kind of nice; you get an extra three hours of sleep, you don’t have to stress with the two minute sampling and you can take time whenever you feel like it. It’s just that it’s not as interesting as following the orangutans.

Most days in the forest offers you something interesting. It can be everything from wild boars, to some funky insects, to snakes (and of course orangutans!). As usually, the dragonflies and dameflies are my favourite animal for photography.damesfly 2

I like there fasette eyes, colourful looks and alien face. This one was hunting over some nice flowers and got a wolfspider.

After about one weeks of searching, I had found nothing! But Julia found a new non-habituated orangutan, with her baby and juvenile! I took a video of them:

As you can see, they are quite stressed out, and the mother is displaying for us. We tried to stay out of the picture, to avoid stressing it but it wouldn’t work. She wouldn’t even make a nest for the night and the next morning she was gone again – so we just had to start all over again!

A funky creature inhabiting the forest is the Trilobite Beetle. The pictures below are apparently a larval stage, which the females never leave. I think they look cool, but also kind of evil, no? A mouth like breathing fire, and eyeglobes almost coming out – as if they were straight from hell!

And last I will share a picture of this waterspider, hunting on the surface! It attacked me right after this photo, taking a 20 centimeter leap! Note the mirror image 🙂

Spider sitting on the watersurface, waiting for prey - which was my hand apparently

Spider sitting on the watersurface, waiting for prey – which was my hand apparently

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