RESEARCH IN THE LOWLAND RAINFOREST
As a part of an annual exchange with the SOCP staff on Sumatra, our fundraising officer Dominique Bärtschi visited our research station in Sikundur a few weeks ago. She conducted a few short interviews while she was there.
Sikundur lies in the north of the island Sumatra, in the province North Sumatra, directly in the Leuser-Ecosystem. This unique ecosystem is the only contiguous area, where the last remaining rhinoceros, elephants, tigers and orangutans live together. In this valuable piece of lowland rainforest, we run a research station with the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme SOCP. This is especially interesting because the animals there have always lived in the wild and have never had contact with humans. But not only the orangutans are interesting for us. We also take a special interest in the phenology of the forest: Which plants are there; How (periodically) do they grow; Where do we find them? All data collected are sent monthly to the office in Medan. There, our research director Matt Nowak works on different studies, which are helping to understand the rainforest, its importance and its unique inhabitants.
Back to Sikundur. The rainforest-camp is located about a half day trip away from the city Medan. From the last part of the street, you get there relatively easy by foot or by boat. The living standards in the station are simple. The five employees live in simple plank accommodations, there is a «bathroom» but a quite well equipped kitchen. Who has to cook is decided by rotation principle. Sometimes film teams or students from different universities visit the research station to realize their projects there.
Supri, a research specialist in Sikundur, tells in his own words how he assesses his work:
Some impressions from the wonderful environment around the station. We were lucky in that we achieved to record a «long call» from a male orangutan: