Samboja refers to an area in Kalimantan about an hours drive from the capital city, Balipapan. About fifty years ago the area was clear cut by logging companies and left to fend on its own. The results were typical of deforested areas: soil depletion, species loss, and hearty fast growing “weedy” plants covering the previously forested landscape. The Samboja organization, part of BOS (The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation), consists of three different projects; orangutan and sunbear rehabilitation and with the orangutans, eventual release back into their natural habitat, reforestation of the area with hardwood trees, and an ecolodge. We took our students to Samboja for a week so they could experience first had a very interesting and unique aspect of Indonesia.
Mining is big business in Kalimantan as evidenced by this sign that greets arriving visitors in the airport. This is the first sign that you see as you enter the airport from the tarmac.
This picture is taken from the lodge that is built into the slope of one side of a valley. At the base of the valley is a group of mandmade islands where the orangs that are being rehabed live. On the other slope are enormous cages that house the rehabed orangs waiting for reintroduction into their natural habitat.
The fire tower provides for an excellent survey view of the area and of the work being done by the Samboja group.
Dave H. making a commando style exit from the “Jungle Truck”, which was needed to navigate many of the muddy roads in the area.
An orang on one of the rehab islands. You can not get too close to the orangs as they must break their relationship with humans to successfully be reintroduced into the wild. Also orangs are very susceptible to human diseases, another reason for keeping the distance.
Planting teak trees. Difficult work as the scruff that has grown up in the area is quite dense and needs to be removed in order for the teak saplings to successfully take root and grow.
Taking a break courteousy of Hyun Ho while preparing seedlings back at the nursery.
The Samboja project also runs an organic farm. Here a few of the kids get their hands dirty preparing a bed to plant beans.Michelle H is a natural at farming – Insuk was much better at giving advice and encouragement!
Preparing the pots for the seedlings to be grown in.
It was not all work! One evening we took some time off to play against the Samboja team. They played some nice football but we managed to hold our own. A good time was had by all.
Surprise, surprise, Michella and Korin shouting it out in charades.