Sunday, May 20, 2007

Jakarta to Kalimantan

Can not locate these pictures anywhere .... too bad - actually, I think I uploaded many onto a powerpoint ... will post those but am missing many so the write-ups don't relate to some of the images but want to keep the write ups for memory sake.

Mining is big business in Kalimantan as evidenced by this sign that greets arriving visitors in the airport. This is the first sign that you see as you enter the airport from the tarmac.

This picture is taken from the lodge that is built into the slope of one side of a valley. At the base of the valley is a group of mandmade islands where the orangs that are being rehabed live. On the other slope are enormous cages that house the rehabed orangs waiting for reintroduction into their natural habitat.

The ecolodge - very impressive.

The fire tower provides for an excellent survey view of the area and of the work being done by the Samboja group.

Dave H. making a commando style exit from the "Jungle Truck", which was needed to navigate many of the muddy roads in the area. It was a Mercedes Benz truck made for farmers back in Germany. It was widely used in Germany during WWII and is often modified to serve safari adventures.

An orang on one of the rehab islands. You can not get too close to the orangs as they must break their relationship with humans to successfully be reintroduced into the wild. Also orangs are very susceptible to human diseases, another reason for keeping the distance. One of the islands has several orangs that have hepatitis - they will never be reintroduced into a natural habitat as they could easily decimate a population living in the wild by spreading the disease.

We played a friendly match against the Samboja team. They played some nice football and the pitch was huge - actually it had no side boundaries and the ref was quite willing to let play progress well into the underbrush bordering the field - definite home team advantage

Samboja refers to an area in Kalimantan about an hours drive from the capital city, Balipapan. About fifty years ago the area was clear cut by logging companies and left to fend on its own. The results were typical of deforested areas: soil depletion, species loss, and hearty fast growing "weedy" plants covering the previously forested landscape. The Samboja organization, part of BOS (The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation), consists of three different projects; orangutan and sunbear rehabilitation and with the orangutans, eventual release back into their natural habitat, reforestation of the area with hardwood trees, and an ecolodge. We took our students to Samboja for a week so they could experience first hand a very interesting and unique aspect of Indonesia.

Planting teak trees. Difficult work as the scruff that has grown up in the area is quite dense and needs to be removed in order for the teak saplings to successfully take root and grow.

Preparing seedling soil pots in the nursery. One of the highlights of this part of the trip was sampling the various fruits growing in the nursery area. When the head gardener noticed my curiosity in the different fruit trees, he began taking me from tree to tree, giving me fruit to try - very exciting as several types were new to me.

In the honey bear compound.

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