During my recent visit to the island, Dr. Marcelo Mazzolli, our big cat expert, and I put most of the finishing touches to what we hope will be our next expedition launch. We were kindly hosted by Wishnu and Febri from our local partner WWF Indonesia.
Febri will be the scientist for the expedition and is looking forward to it all, albeit with some trepidation of being overwhelmed by foreigners 😉
Pekanbaru, our assembly point city, certainly has zero foreigners in it. Marcelo and I were treated like celebrities with frequent requests for photos. The further away from Pekanbaru we travelled, the more frequent they became, especially at the hospitals and medical posts we inspected for our medical umbrella plan. Full of smiling and laughing nurses, they looked like good places to have a twisted ankle treated in. In the field, WWF’s Subayang field station is certainly a beautiful place
as is the expedition study site of Rimbang Baling Wildlife Reserve
and the gibbon wake-up calls in the morning are even better
The biggest change to what was quoted on the website so far is the dates. We have to work around Ramadan, when Febri has to fast during the day and therefore cannot be in full action in the field. Our new prospective dates are 2 – 15 May | 17 – 29 May | 31 May – 12 June || 26 July – 7 August | 9 – 21 August | 23 August – 4 September. These may yet shift by a week or so and we should know the final dates this month. When we do, we will send around the expedition briefing to the waiting list (which now has over 150 people on it). Once this is done, we just need to wait for the final ok from WWF head office in Jakarta and their signature on the dotted line of our collaboration agreement. Once we have this, we will launch the expedition hopefully sometime in June. Once launched (first to the waiting list for a few days before going fully public), places will be awarded on a first-deposit-first-served basis. We cannot accept deposits/reservations until then, but if the experiences of other launches are anything to go by, then we should be able to accommodate everyone on the waiting list on their preferred dates.
Dr. Matthias Hammer
Continue reading “Dear prospective Sumatra expeditioners”
We couldn’t have picked better weather, making our time outdoors exploring the wetlands even more enjoyable! The day started at 10:30 where we all met and introduced ourselves, often talking about which expeditions we’d been on with Biosphere Expeditions and when we hoped our next one would be.
At 11: 00 we watched the Asian short-clawed otters get fed, they keep a male and a female and are hoping to breed them. This is always very entertaining, particularly for the children that came along. We also heard a talk by one of the keepers about their feeding habits, distribution in Asia and breeding cycles.
From there, a volunteer ranger talked us through a map of the wetlands, its history and some key species that we could potentially see, which was all great to learn about! We did a 1 1/2 hour guided tour, stopping at points of interest and regularly keeping an eye out for the wildlife that was there. Particular highlights were the peacock tower with many viewing areas on different levels, the bat house and learning about the environmental sustainability of the centre.
After enjoying the wetlands under the sun and a good walk and talk, it was definitely time for lunch. Most of us headed over to The Red Lion pub (highly recommended!) for a bite to eat and to continue catching up with old friends and making new ones! Keep an eye out for the next planned event with the Friends of Biosphere Expeditions, which will be happening soon!
Always good to watch to remind ourselves what we are about and what we have achieved. Thank you everyone who has been part of Biosphere Expeditions.
Have a look and tell us what you think. Thanks to all our supporters – as it says, we could not do this without you!
Our Malaysia coral reef conservation expedition (www.biosphere-expeditions.org/malaysia) has been honoured on Endless Vacation’s “Best Trips that Offer a Way Back” list.
Our Namibia big cat conservation expedition (www.biosphere-expeditions.org/namibia) has been honoured in Business Insider’s “Best Volunteer Vacations” list.
Our 2012 Magazine is now online at www.biosphere-expeditions.org/magazine.
The Magazine is on a marine theme with articles from the Azores, Malaysia, Oman, Western Australia.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed.
Highlights of the magazine include:
Overview of all our projects and expeditions around the globe > pages 6/7
Ten tips on how to tell the good from the bad from the downright ugly in this expanding & now treacherous market of volunteering > 40-43
Capacity-building and educational work around the world > 36-39