All good things come to an end, and today we to said goodbye to everyone who has made this expedition possible and draw a close on the Sumatran tiger expedition for 2015.
With 265-camera trap nights behind us, there have been some interesting results from the cameras we have collected. Clouded leopard, leopard cat, Malayan sun bear, binturong, yellow-throated marten, pig-tailed macaque, long-tailed macaque, barking deer, wild pig, and other animals. But sadly the extent of human impact within the wildlife sanctuary is unrelenting. We have caught on film people trying to kick our cameras off trees, in one case stealing the camera. Catching birds to sell in the villages. On the retrieval of one camera, the whole area leading up to it was cut down in the two weeks the camera had been in place. The loggers had not noticed the camera as they dragged timber past the traps we had set for the animals.
As a result no pictures of tigers were taken this year, but there is other, more circumstantial evidence, that they are still close to the villages. But we do now have a much greater understanding of what is going on the area. And we have made some really good contacts in villages further into the reserve for setting up sub-bases next year to access the harder-to-reach areas, away from humans, to which the tigers will have retracted too. And in several interviews in the last slot of this year’s expedition, as we have pushed deeper and deeper into the reserve, we have been hearing more about tigers in the nearby area in the form of tracks, roars and sightings in the last two months.
Thank you to everybody involved this year from the WWF, Batu Dinding and to all the participants who have taken time off to help with this cause. There are too many of you to mention by name, but you know who you are. None of this could have happened without you. Year 1 was always going to be the trailblazing year. Thank you for being trailblazers and preparing the ground for others to come after you in the years to come.
We battled leeches, spiders and things that bite, extreme rain, no rain, drought, the frustrations of not getting close enough to our quarry, pushed boats over rocks, worn wet shoes everyday, had fantastic blisters to show for our efforts and counted every last pig track in a 136 square km area. We were welcomed by the community, worked with them, passed on our enthusiasm about the enchanting rainforest just over the fence to countless school children, had our photos taken, made friends and were part of something amazing.
Very best wishes
Anthony & the Biosphere Expeditions team