Aim’s Great Experiences with Birds and Javan Slow Loris at the Little Fireface Project

Hi there, I am Zulaima Rakhmatiar. but my friends just call me Aim. I’m from Yogyakarta, Indonesia and I study at the faculty of Forestry at Universitas Gadjah Mada Yogyakarta. My studies focus on wildlife, especially birds. I am currently a volunteer at LFP and I have a project about interactions between Javan Slow Loris (Nycticebus javanicus) with birds. This is my primary research for my undergraduate thesis. In Cipaganti, Garut there is a lot of farm and agroforestry. In Sundanese (the native language of West Java) agroforestry is called “Talun”. The Javan Slow Loris currently must live in this changed habitat. Farmers plant many vegetables like cabbages, pumpkins (in Indonesian called Labu Siam), tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes etc. In Cipaganti there are a lot of tea gardens too. At the edge of the gardens there are certain tree species including: Kayu Putih (Eucalyptus sp.), Suren (Toona sureni), Avocado (Persea americana), Kayu Angin (Casuarina junghuniana), Bamboo and more. Continue reading

My Wonderful Experience with Javan Slow Loris at the Little Fireface Project – Carala Rosadi

Hi to everyone reading my blog, hopefully it will deliver a message about why we should care about wildlife, especially the Javan Slow Loris “Kukang Jawa” and also what we can do to save them from any kind of threat of being extinct. Firstly, let me introduce myself, my name is Carala Rosadi, I’m Indonesian and a Forestry Student that focuses in Forest Resource Conservation in Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. I started to be interested about wildlife when I’m in the last semester because I want to do something different that I’ve never done before.  That’s my reason for deciding to come to Cipaganti, Garut, West Java and take part in wildlife-related activities and volunteer for the inspired and gorgeous project I’ve heard of – the Little Fireface Project. Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading my story, and help to improve your compassion to the Javan Slow Loris and also encourage you to work together with us to save them from extinction.

A Sapphire for our Slow Lorises!

Sapphire on the far right, participating in a team film for SLOW2017

I’m Sapphire and I have come to LFP as part of my BSc in Zoology at Cardiff University. Almost two months into my placement year and I am loving it here. I enjoy the culture, the people, the family that the staff and volunteers have become and obviously the wildlife! I will be studying positions of loris bridges alongside helping out with the behavioural observations throughout the night and helping to teach children English in a school in Garut. Some days are busy busy busy, and this is one of them.

When you first wake up you hear the mosque prayers, the motorbikes zooming past the house, the chickens squawking and the hustle and bustle of this small village you’ve made your home. As you make your way to the kitchen, four cats surround you for attention (and most likely food) and after a good cup of tea (in my case at least) you are able to start your day. Continue reading

A day in the life of a volunteer at LFP

You wake up to the sound of the mosque cascading through the village and motorcycles buzzing by. Stretch, yawn, sniff the air to see if Ibu Ina is downstairs and cooking yet. This may have a significant bearing on your morning ritual as it may take up to 30 minutes before you’re able to boil the kettle to make a coffee. After having determined if there is in fact an Ibu in the kitchen, roll out of bed and navigate the steep stair case descending into the common area. Post haste head into the kitchen whilst attempting to avoid treading on the cats. They will be determined to give you the warmest welcome to the day you could ever hope to receive (though I suspect they only want me for my ability to reach the cat food). Continue reading

Volunteering for Conservation Education

So often, when looking for volunteering opportunities in wildlife conservation or research, you’ll see images of deep dark forests, scientific observations, rescued animals being fed or sometimes even played with, etc. However, something that isn’t always pushed forward into the public eye is the massive amount of outreach and education work that is done at these centres.

Continue reading

Terima kasih!

Someone pointed out to me recently that, based on my blog posts, it seems I have an altogether negative view of the things I’ve experienced while in Indonesia. It is true that I have focused mainly on the travesties of public transport, corruption, and environmental destruction in my blogs. I blame this on my Seinfeld sense of humor, in which one uses comedy as a way of understanding the parts of life equivalent to bags of dog shit left in your bicycle basket. (This is not a canonized metaphor or anything, just an experience I can relate to.) And unfortunately, I sometimes find it hard to talk about the wonderful things I’ve seen without sounding cliché. Often I couldn’t even find the words to describe the feeling of delirious, stupid-grin joy that came along with them. So as I sit here thousands of miles from Java, doing Western things like exposing my knees and flushing toilet paper, I will try to create a list of the best things I can recall from my two months in Indonesia: Continue reading

You won’t regret it!

During my interview for LFP, I remember hearing the Sharon, LFP’s field station coordinator, tell me that the site in West Java was more of an agroforest than real forest. Thinking that the site would be similar to the lush deciduous forest of Northen Thailand that was also classified as agroforest, which I had visited last summer for an internship at an elephant sanctuary, I was astonished at the state of the habitat of the slow lorises in Cipaganti. No amount of reading about deforestation and looking at pictures could have prepared me for the real thing. Though I am well versed in the deforestation that is rampant all over the world, this is my first time witnessing its very real and devastating consequences face to face. Back at the Thai elephant conservation project last summer, the face of deforestation took the form of rolling fields of bare soil resultant from burning down the forest to grow corn. However, there still appeared to be a good bit of forest left for the elephants to roam. On the surface, this site is not so different from Cipaganti, where the loris habitats encompass vast fields of tea, coffee, and various vegetables. Yet, the disparities lie in the fact that the lorises are forced to live in much smaller areas of forest, which are infinitely more broken up and fragmented than the elephant forests of Thailand. It is truly devastating.

Continue reading

One year of wild ride

This week exactly marks my one year of working with this awesome slow loris conservation organization. I can’t believe it’s already one year.

I came here the first time as a research assistant volunteer for PhD researcher, Katie. I planned to volunteer for just three months. I thought it was going to be long enough, but I was wrong. Three months were too short, especially when I treasured it and time flew quickly, so I decided to extend for another two months. My job was mostly involving night observation, following a radio-collared slow loris for at least 6 hours each nights. The work starts at 5 – 11 pm for first shift or 11 pm – 5 am for second. Honestly, I don’t really care about having a first shift or second one. They have their own benefits. For instance, I can at least sleep while the night is still on after having a first shift, but sometimes I have to wait a little bit longer for the replacing second-shift team to arrive at our site and replace us. While second shift is usually colder, I feel that the time weirdly goes faster during this shift. I have to sacrifice second half of the night, though, but I could see the beautiful sunrise after the shift is finished. I don’t know how many hours I have spent, but I could say that every nights and every lorises that I had followed had their own unique stories.

Continue reading

Finding the Water Mafia

Kampung sumber alam resort

“Do you want coffee? Tea?”

I glance with discomfort at the LFP staff member who has come to help me translate. It is Ramadan, and I have yet to determine the cultural rules of eating during the daytime. “If Abdullah doesn’t mind?”

My interviewee speaks purposefully, emphasizing choice words with a lilting crack in his voice. “They have to be don’t mind. They have to be don’t mind because that’s their own responsibility.” He lights a cigarette, a big middle finger to the fact that smoking is also forbidden during the fast. Continue reading

Green Peacocks and Papadayan

The almost perfectly conical mountain lying across the valley, from behind which the sun is cracking the pre-dawn sky in two, has wild peacocks.

It is 5 am and the tracker points again at the mountain and nods, “peacocks” to reinforce the point. It is fast approaching a month since my arrival in Java and every time I think I gain a foothold in the uncertainty, this place finds a way to throw me. I thought peacocks were only native to India, but I am beginning to accept that this island has many secrets, most of which I will never know. Continue reading