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by Wally Van Sickle

A tiny hand reached forward so slowly it was almost imperceptible. Almost no light was available high in the canopy of the Indonesian rain forest. It was in the dead of the night and most of the birds were fast asleep. Inch by inch on a precarious branch the stealthy nocturnal primate moved towards a smell she recognized as something she wanted to eat. Her nose was moist, the humidity was high, and she was able to detect even the slightest odor.

Special blood vessels in her forelimbs made it possible to remain in tense poses and transition between them without cramping. The movement was so slow and precise there was absolutely no shaking of the branch as she crept along undetected.

Large round eyes peered ahead with an ability to use even the smallest amount of star light. A dark silhouette of a bird was not far ahead. Leaves pushed aside as the tiny primate continued on its quest. Not a sound was made. A very sweet face masked a very deadly game. Once the bird was within arm’s reach, a very powerful hand lashed out and quickly dispatched the sleeping bird.

Once dinner had been captured and devoured, the female Javan slow loris (Nycticebus javanicus) began cleaning up. With an extended toe on each hind foot she fastidiously cleaned her soft thick fur. Such is the life of one of Indonesia’s most unusual primates.

JAROT ARISONA AJI PAMBUDI

Indonesia is considered to have one of the highest primate diversities in the world. That diversity ranges from primitive living fossils like the tarsiers to very advanced apes such as the orangutans. And this amazing diversity also includes the nocturnal Javan slow loris.

Jarot Arisona Aji Pambudi is a young Indonesian who is very interested in primates and is very interested in their conservation, since they face many human-caused threats. Several Indonesian primates including the Sumatran orangutan are listed in the 25 most endangered primates on the planet.

Jarot is involved in conservation on many levels. After finishing up a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Indonesia, he currently spends his time volunteering for three different institutions. For the SELARAS Foundation, a local Indonesian non-profit organization, he serves as the research and education manager. As a volunteer for the Bodogol Research Station at Gunung Gede Pangrango National Park (GGPNP), his responsibilities include designing research projects, conducting environmental education, and promoting eco-tourism. Lastly, as senior trainer for COMATA which is the University of Indonesia’s wildlife conservation department, he helps train future conservationists in wildlife research and management techniques.

HOW IDEA WILD MADE A DIFFERENCE

One of the research projects Jarot is most interested in involves a survey of the Javan slow loris in GGPNP. Very little is known about this elusive nocturnal primate as it has rarely been studied. One of Jarot’s methods for studying the slow loris will be to walk transects through the forest at night from 6PM to 2AM. He will use a spotlight to detect their brilliant orange-red eye shine.

He will work in a variety of habitats found in the park and determine habitat preference, population density, distribution within the park, basic ecology, remaining habitat, and the threats to the slow loris’ survival.

Jarot will not be alone. Not only will his project be beneficial to the slow loris, but he is also inviting and training “junior primatologists” to join him in the field work so they will have the experience to conduct their own projects one day. “We hope the training will deliver many enthusiastic young Indonesian primatologists who will be willing to study and conserve the diversity of Indonesian primate species.”

Jarot will be using an LCD projector and laptop donated by IDEA WILD to collect and analyze data and will provide environmental education to villages and schools surrounding the park. This equipment will also come in handy with all the advanced training Jarot does for The SELARAS Foundation, the Bodogol Research Station, and COMATA.

We wish Jarot all the best in his conservation endeavors and are very pleased IDEA WILD could help with his incredibly important work.

Project Cost: $917