The time has come for our Sumatra tiger expedition. After many years of discussions and many months of preparation, Ronald, your expedition leader for groups 1 – 3, has left Europe and is now en route to Pekanbaru. With him is Anthony, who will be there for group 1 and then groups 4 – 6. A few days behind them is Dr. Matthias Hammer, our founder and Executive Director. Waiting in Pekanbaru is Febri Anggriawan Widodo, our scientist from local partner WWF Indonesia. And in the field is the Batu Dingding community, who will host us at Subayang research station, and, hidden in the jungle somewhere for us to track, photograph and find out about as much as we can, is Panthera tigris.
Thank you to all of you for wanting to help with the tiger’s plight. A plight it is indeed, especially on Sumatra, and the more help we have, the more awareness we can generate and the more incentives for local people we can create, the more likely we are to succeed. You could have gone to Dubai, or to Singapore, or spent a beach holiday somewhere, but instead you have chosen to sweat it out with us in the jungle, walk the trails, get your hands dirty and your feet wet, learn from each other and see what we can do. Thank you for that, even before we have started.
We hope your preparations are going well, especially the trailblazers of group 1, only a few days away from starting their journeys. We are sure you have all realised by now that you are joining a research expedition, not a tiger watching holiday. And before we have even set foot into the reserve, we will already have made a difference with the local community. But cut them some slack, please. It’s their first time with a big group of foreigners and Indonesia works differently to Europe or North America or the Antipodes. But just like at home, things will go wrong (but you can’t have your money back ;), take a long time or not happen as planned, or even not at all. It’s all part of the experience and you will certainly have a story to tell back home.
Anyway, Ronald will check in from Pekanbaru in a few days time, when he’s been to Subayang and back and found his feet locally. He will then also share his mobile number in case of any emergencies. Stay tuned. We’ll be back…