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In the forest, our Post-Release Monitoring (PRM) team members rely on supplies purchased monthly in Muara Wahau, the nearest town to Camp Nles Mamse, about 70 km away. There, logistical and bulk food supplies, including vegetables and eggs, are bought and taken back to camp for the team.

But sometimes, when food supplies run low, our team members have to look for natural food sources in the forest. While awaiting the arrival of new supplies, they will often go fishing on the Telen River to help supplement their diet. When you live in a forest that has an abundance of food, your imagination and openness in the kitchen is your only limit!

However, we are mindful to not overexploit these food sources. We do not even fish every day, as it is harder to do so when the water of the Telen River is muddy from heavy rain upstream.

One day in July, members of our PRM team - Yunus, Laring, Yunus Juq, Krisdianto, and Syahrul - went fishing while also observing the local amphibian and reptile species. As the two are commonly known as herpetofauna, we refer to this activity as ‘herping’. Before leaving, our team first prepared the necessary equipment, like bait, fishing rods, machetes, cameras and even multipurpose spices for seasoning the fish!

The team departed by motorised boat down the Telen River and, after approaching the destination, immediately looked for a safe location along the banks to moor the boat. The journey then continued on foot. While walking along the river, our team members also conducted ‘herping’. Since many amphibians and reptiles are nocturnal, an ideal time to do this is at night by the river; yet our team still managed to take a few photos before finding a location they deemed a good place to fish.

It turned out to be a lucky day for our team, as it did not take too long for them to catch a few fish. They cooked some up for a late lunch, then wrapped the rest up to take back to camp. With some simple seasonings added to fish while cooking, and after building up an appetite after a long walk, eating in the forest is always a special experience. Our team enjoyed fishing into the evening, but were sure to hurry back to the camp before it turned too dark – otherwise they would’ve had to sleep in the forest overnight!

What a wonderful life, working in the forest!

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