Monday, December 5, 2011
The next destination of our journey was Ketambe. We wanted to see this area in part because the AZA’s (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) Ape TAG Conservation Initiative is supporting a project called KREDI (Ketambe Restoration and Ecotourism Development Initiative) in this area. This project was initiated by OIC (Orangutan Information Centre). As the “hornbill flies” the distance between Bukit Lawang and Ketambe is not far at all. However, since we had to drive the long way around
, this drive
took about 10 hours, and much of it was very bumpy on mountain switchbacks. Gunung Leuser
Our next order of business was to visit a fledgling reforestation site. There are huge challenges in this area due to farmers from the next village encroaching on the National Park land. OIC has been working with the community for two years, trying to get farmers’ support and commitment to stop encroaching on park land.
In meeting with village leaders later that evening, we learned that they would like to expand ecotourism in the area so that there is more sustainable income and less pressure to encroach on the forest. Although they have a long way to go, it is good that they are working in that direction.
We stayed at the Friendship Guest House. There was a very friendly cat who kept us company at meal times – which made us home sick for our own pets at home. The food was excellent, but the accommodations were somewhat challenging and basic.
On the way back to
we experienced our first (and only) flat tire in over 40 hours of driving on
this trip. We drew a huge crowd of local
children who seemed amused and interested in the predicament of these western
Although the drives to and from Ketambe, which is in the
, were not very comfortable, the
scenery was beautiful. It was the only
place we did not see miles and miles palm oil plantations, instead we saw quite
a bit of intact forest. We also saw an
incredible amount of corn grown on mountainsides (that can’t be fun to
cultivate). province of Aceh
One interesting thing we saw was two goats tied up to two cows, and the goats were leading the way down a mountain road. Unfortunately we saw several cases of macaques being kept as pets. The strangest situation was a baby macaque clinging to a dog, which was balancing on a dog crate on the back of a motorcycle.
After spending the night in
, we met with Panut Hadisiswoyo,
founding director of OIC. He did a
presentation for us showing some of OIC’s great projects, including HOCRU
(Human Orangutan Conflict Resolution Unit) and the education programs which
have reached 10,000 children in Medan . Indonesia
We are currently in Kuala Lampur, we will fly to Hong Kong next, then
Los Angeles, then …we are all looking forward to our own
beds, our favorite American foods and drinks. Denver