Life divided into two parts
Damson Siahaan is part of our monitoring team at the reintroduction station in Jantho. His job is to monitor the orangutans we release and to collect data for research. He is one of the staff members who has been with us the longest. Since 2011, he has been following the newly reintroduced orangutans with a trained eye, or taking care of those candidates who are still preparing for their reintroduction in the reintroduction enclosures or in the “advanced forest school”. Damson lives with his family in the city of Medan – a 10-hour bus ride from Jantho. He works and lives at the station with his colleagues for 20 days at a time and then goes home to his wife and son for 10 days off.
Long working days
His working days at the reintroduction station are long and exhausting. This is what a typical working day looks like: The alarm clock goes off as early as 5:30 a.m. and after a short breakfast, freshly cooked for everyone by the cook on site, he sets off with his colleagues. Around 6:30 a.m. he finds the orangutan he wants to observe today. The animal leaves its nest and Damson follows it during the day to observe its behavior and state of health. In the evening, when the orangutan has built its nest for the night, it is also time for Damson to head back to camp. Dinner is served at 7 p.m., followed by a team meeting to discuss the day’s observations and plan for the next day. Then it’s time to call home and pass the time by playing games with his colleagues. Around 10 p.m., Damson usually goes to bed.