I’m exhausted! The travel and poor sleep has finally caught up with me, which has every fiber in my body yearning for rest. We started the day with a transect survey, which entails us trekking the peat swamp forest in search of primates and taking data points. We first spotted Niko, an old male orangutan, eating kamunda about 10 meters above us. Although I could only catch a small glimpse, seeing an orangutan in the wild refueled my enthusiasm for this trip. (I was going to need it.)
Walking through the peat swamp forest is no easy task. We had to be cautious of skin piercing thorns, hairy caterpillars and most commonly not getting stuck in the mud. The humidity and the high temperature did not make this any easier. My body wanted to collapse and rest, but mentally I wanted to keep exploring the forest. Eventually we had to go back, but as we were heading down the trail we heard branches swinging near by. We had no idea how far this possible orangutan might be, but with the last bit of strength I decided to back once more into the forest. Ten minutes in and slightly regretting my decision since I fell through a tree trunk, all my tiredness melted away when I saw Juni and Jane, a mother and her offspring resting 10 to 15 meters above us. Since it was midday both were relaxing in a small nest, however like any curious juvenile Jane was looking down on us trying to figure out who we were. Despite being fatigued, I wanted to stay and observed the relation between mother and offspring. I wanted to study their behavior and the relationship between one another.
The next day we had a visitor near camp. No more than 100 feet away was Mawas, a young beautiful female. As we observing her she was feeding on leaves and kamunda. She took a moment to peak down, however her priority was feeding. What I found most captivating about Mawas, was her vibrant orange hair and her bright eyes. Her ability to easily move through the branches and her drive was an indicator of how full of life she was. Seeing her filled me with an unbelievable amount of joy. I could not believe that this was my life and that I was able to see such beauty roaming free in nature.