From our Sumatran tiger conservation volunteering holiday in Indonesia (

John, the birder in this second group, has helped us to open up our bird inventory. Group by group we want to build this catalogue. And it’s good to see how a person with skills such as John’s is able to create interest with others just through passion – and knowledge. Thank you, John.

Things may go wrong….and a broken engine of a boat on its way out to a survey destination in the field is such an example. But with the tremendous energy of Sugi and the boat driver, they managed to paddle back. Thank you!

Mahwel, our camp helper, plays the guitar. So, one evening we were treated to a concert given by Mahwel and Beston (who brought his guitar along). There were internationally known and unknown songs in English, Spanish and Indonesian, with an international audience (Dutch, English, American, German, Indonesian).

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On Thursday we decided to survey a larger area downriver, next to several smaller villages, knowing that we had to expect palm oil and rubber tree plantations. And indeed there were enormous private, fenced and guarded areas with monoculture farming. On a hot, hot day we walked long distances along logging roads without the shady canopy of the forest that still rules upriver. Still, we returned with some good sightings, tracks and, once more, a wildcat scat. Thirsty and exhausted, we invaded a tiny shop for cold drinks, before getting the boat back upriver, into the forest and home.

Heavy thunder and lightning brought a downpour of over 10 hours in the night from Thursday to Friday. The rainforest lived up to its name. The following survey day continued the wet theme with wading, almost swimming, along freshly swelled streams. On Saturday we visited villages around our field camp and concentrated on conducting interviews.

Today, Sunday, is our day off. Almost everyone decided to go out on a boat very early in the morning to float back downriver as the sun rose, watch birds and other creatures. Later, we are all invited to a wedding in Tanjung Belit. Sapri’s (one of our boat drivers) daughter is getting married and apparently a big party awaits….

From our Sumatran tiger conservation volunteering holiday with tigers in Sumatra, Indonesia

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