Category Archives: Pondok Ambung Research Station

Borneo’s beautiful barking deer

It has been a while since we’ve shared our news from the field. Arif, the manager of Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station situated in Tanjung Puting National Park (Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo), describes his encounter and attempts to photograph the Bornean red muntjac, otherwise know as the barking deer.

‘Finally, my curiosity with the barks that I often hear, have paid off. In the morning, when I was walking not far from the camp, after passing through bush-land bordering the forest, suddenly I saw two mammals walking and foraging. Wow, this is the bark voice that made me curious so far, the barking deer, the scientific name is Muntiacus muntjac. An elusive and very sensitive mammal. I held my breath, and directing my camera among the bush.

Crek .. crek ..

Noise of shutter of non professional camera, made the deers pay attention on it for a moment.

Bornean Red Muntjac or barking deer taken in Tanjung Puting National Park (Orangutan Foundation)

Bornean Red Muntjac or barking deer taken in Tanjung Puting National Park (Orangutan Foundation)

My heartbeat is getting faster and still I hold my breath. I moved my body for a little to get the best angle. Oops …the shy deer ran off with the barking voice. Hem, sometimes we need camouflage costum or maybe a professional camera with smooth shutter noise!’

Thanks Arif and what a fantastic photo – your patience paid off!

More news soon!

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White-rumped shama – a beautiful bird in Borneo

This post has been written by Wawan, our Finance Manager from our Indonesian office in Pangkalan Bun,  Central Kalimantan Borneo about his visit to Pondok Ambung.

Experiencing Beautiful ‘Shama’

Its  such interesting experience when you go through the deep of Tanjung Puting National Park in Central Kalimantan. You can enjoy an unforgetable long river journey to reach Pondok Ambung Research station, about 30 minutes down river from Camp Leakey.

I went to Pondok Ambung Research Station by Orangutan Foundation’s Speed boat as routine duty delivering fresh logistic from Kumai market on 15 April. Staying one night just sensing to be closer to the wildlife habitat there. Butterflies, birds, squirrel, and even little dragonfly can be found easily.

One bird was my interest, I see beautiful bird having long-black tailed and white rump, orange bellied, black head and black eyes as well. Its body size maybe only same as a little coffee cup but looking a bit thin because of its long tailed and neck. It kept jumping between branches, and some times stepping to the ground. Once it jump and step on the ground getting little worm by its beak, and suddenly swallow it.  After swallow the worm, it flew to perch on little branches and singing! Such beautiful long time duration sing.

Moments were capture by my camera, I though that I got some good pictures, not bad at all before it vanish away. Unforgetable and beautiful bird, I know the name is White-rump Shama (Copsychus malabaricus) from book literature, it residence mainly eating worms but occasionally ants and other insect, very clever often immitating other bird calls. Its threated by illegal hunting for their rich chuckling songs, people using this bird for Bird singing competition, now we see it free from threaths because they living in protected area Tanjung Puting National Park.

I think this is just a little story that representing my experience to be closer to wildlife especially birds.  I hope any of you like it. Thank you  Orangutan Foundation UK and Tanjung puting National park and also thanks for Arif Nugroho the manager of Pondok Ambung Research Station.

I hope You will get more interest from this little experience, thanks.

Wawan  (Bambang Setyawan)

OF-UK Finance Manager

Want to visit Tanjung Puting National Park? Visit our

Video footage of baby freshwater crocodile

Watch this short clip of a baby tomistoma crocodile, also known as the false gharial. It was taken at Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station, Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesian Borneo by Wawan, the Orangutan Foundation’s Finance Office, who was on a logistic run to the field site.  This species of fresh water crocodile is listed as endangered on the IUCN Redlist.


Orangutan Foundation

Universities interested in study at Pondok Ambung please contact Orangutan Foundation

Borneo’s Enchanting Forests

As the UN Year of the Forests 2011 draws to a close Arif Nugroho, the manager of Pondok Ambung Tropical forest Research Station in Tanjung Puting National Park (Central kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo), has sent this interesting report (which is almost poetic in parts) with images about some of the rarer treasures of the rainforest. Over to Arif …….

Welcome the rainy season, welcome beautiful colorful mushrooms

At the beginning of rainy season, we felt spoilt when walking in the forest. There were many different colorful mushrooms, some with striking colors such as bright yellow or orange. They looked like little umbrellas in the ground – so beautiful.

Mushrooms found at Pondok Ambung

Mushrooms found at Pondok Ambung

Mushroom found at Pondok Ambung - Tanjung Puting National Park

Mushroom found at Pondok Ambung - Tanjung Puting National Park




While collecting data on the vegetation with Mas’ud Ashari, a student from the Forestry Faculty at Gajah Mada University, Jogjakarta we found many species of mushrooms. We couldn’t identify them but took images of them. Classification of fungi is always suffering from contradictions because there is a lack of complete knowledge about all the fungal organisms. There is little information reported about mushrooms in Borneo, especially in Pondok Ambung. So the aim of the present investigation was to identify the wild mushroom in Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station. We found at least 12 different species of wild mushrooms, even if we didn’t identify yet. (Please leave a comment if you can help!).

Frogs: Wildlife under canopy

Night tracking. Walk slowly into forest. Smelling the soil after the rain and listening to nature’s voices. So peaceful. Light your torch around you and find some eyes glowing. Yup, that is way to see a beautiful frog, wildlife under canopy.

Rough-sided Tree Frog

Rough-sided Tree Frog

Dark-eared Tree Frog

Dark-eared Tree Frog

Collet's Tree frog

Collet's Tree frog

Butterflies Covering the Ground

Tanjung Puting National Park (TNTP), has peat swamp forests and  orangutans are a key species. The National Park attracts many tourists mainly to see the orangutans. But there is still lots of other biodiversity. We  are trying to explore  and the more we do we discover awesome wildlife.

Idea Hypermnestra

Idea Hypermnestra


This month looks like a butterflies’ moon. They are so easy to find and watch. On a river bank, among the leaf litter and twigs of trees, there are  various kinds of colorful butterflies. I watched one. Flapping its wings occasionally to shift places, then pauses as if she were sipping something from the soil. I crawled over. Trying to enjoy every detail of its beauty. Wings have colorful patterns and sometimes seem complicated. Some of them show a striking hue. Others are just black and white only. But the pattern remains fascinating.

Based on my observations, the butterflies are very easily found on the edge of the river. Precisely on lands moist but still exposed to sunlight. Several others were observed at the lower canopy of trees or perched in the foliage. I also found butterflies gathered in soil doused with smelling material, like soapy water or rotten fruit.


Check my article (In Bahasa Indonesian) about butterfly of Pondok Ambung TNTP in Biodiversitas Indonesia Magazine Vol. 1 No. 2 Th. 2011. Magazine can be downloaded for free here.

Researching Western Tarsier in Pondok Ambung

Masud  Ashari,  the student from Forestry Faculty, Gajah Mada University, Jogjakarta is at Pondok Ambung to research the population and distribution of the Western Tarsier (Tarsius bancanus Horsfield, 1821) in the lowland forest habitat of Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station and Tanjung Harapan, Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan.

Tarsius bancanus at pondok Ambung

Tarsius bancanus

Over 15 days he made 11 transects line and 23 plots of vegetation analysis and recorded 8 points of Tarsiers. This wasn’t actual observations but encountering their smell. Tarsiers produce a secretion from a gland aroung their genitals for marking their homerange. Each point recorded shared similar characteristics. Sapling trees up to pole size, moderate to high vegetation density, temperature between 24-27 ° C, and humidity between 60-65%. Tarsier prefer this habitat because the conditions allow for easy locomotion (leaping between treest), feeding, playing, perching to prey etc.

Thank you,


More news on orangutans later this week…

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Bird nests and visitors in Tanjung Puting National Park

Orangutan Foundation in collaboration with Tanjung Puting National Park run Pondok Ambung, a tropical forest research station. The national park’s wild orangutan population is estimated at over 4,000. But Tanjung Puting isn’t just famous for orangutans it has an amazing diversity of species that share the great ape’s habitat. Arif, our manager of the research station sent this interesting update about recent sightings including the behaviour of nesting birds.

Aku Cinta Indonesia (ACI or I love Indonesia) Team Found Western Tarsier in Pondok Ambung

Aku Cinta Indonesia (ACI) is a program by Their aim is to promote the beauty of Indonesia. ACI pick teams of 3 people who they send out on various adventures to document their experience.

ACI team with OF team at Pondok Ambung

ACI team with OF team at Pondok Ambung

One of the ACI’s team visited to Pondok Ambung and slept overnight on a kelotok (boat).  They were curious to see a nocturnal primate, called the Western Tarsier.   After the drizzle stopped we began our night tracking around Pondok Ambung and at around midnight, Evawi, a Foundation field assistant smelt the urine of the tarsier. We found this small beautiful primate – it is really rare to see them and after no less than 10 minutes we had lost it (see this post for picture of tarsier).

Bird watching at dawn

Bird watching at dawn

In the early morning, we did bird watching. Pak Hudi, the Foundation’s Programme Co-ordinator, gave basic tips about bird watching. So many bird species were seen!

Photographic Trip

Photographer Ian Wood and his group visited Pondok Ambung. There were eight in his group so we split in to 2 smaller groups. One went with Pak Hudi and climbed a watch tower to observe birds in the upper canopy.

Bird tower at Pondok Ambung

Bird tower at Pondok Ambung

The other group came with me to find a criptical bird and look at the nest of the Orange-bellied Flowerpecker. The group had some awesome tools of photography. Tele lens helped to take a small objects, like the birds.

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker

 Bird Nests

We found the nest of a Malaysian Eared Nightjar(Eurostopodus temminckii).  Actually, they don’t really have a nest. They just lay down their egg on the ground, on top of foliage. There was one egg which started to hatch while we observed. It was a beautiful chick with a reddish plumage. I think this is the first record, at least in Pondok Ambung!

We also found the nest of the Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma).  The nest was suspended 2.5 m up on a leafy twig of a tree growing near the watch tower. The nest was small and egg-shaped, made from grass and ferns. It contained two chicks. During my observation, I saw the male and female adults attend the nest.

Flowerpecker nest with chicks inside

Flowerpecker nest with chicks inside

The female took food from the undergrowth around the nest. It seemed like fruit but they were just taking the seeds. When feeding the young, the male hung onto the outside of the nest by its feet so that it could face the chicks directly. After the male departed, the chicks would often wait in front of the entrance with their bills out. Sometimes, although the male was not present, the chicks would stick out their heads and open their mouths wide in a begging behavior.

 After several days, we found the nest is empty with a small hole in the bottom.  Before it, I watch something trying to make a hole from inside the nest. I can’t identify who and what they do. Maybe this is the way out when the chicks are strong enough to fly? We need more observations!

By Arif – Manager of Pondok Ambung Tropical Forests Research Station

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Tanjung Puting National Park photo contest

The Tanjung Puting National Park Authority hosted a poster and photographic competition last weekend.  The Orangutan Foundation is thrilled that Saud Teguh, one of our own members of staff came first in the photo contest with his image of the Greater Coucal and second place with his poster.   What talent – well done Teguh and thank you to the National Park for organising this initiative.

Saud Teguh AP - Greater Coucal - With Title -low res

Photo above and poster below by Saud Teguh

Desain Poster_01-small low res

Comings and goings in Tanjung Puting National Park

In July, we said goodbye to Devis, our Tropical Forest Research Station Manager. Devis had worked for us for five years and though he will be greatly missed we know Pondok Ambung will remain in good hands.

Devis hug-farewell low res

Devis in the middle being hugged by Pak Hudi, our Programme Co-ordinator

Arif the Candidate of PA TFRS manager field visit to Pondok Ambung

Arif (in green t-shirt), our new Manager of Pondok Ambung

We are delighted to welcome Arif Nugroho.  An avid birdwatcher and nature lover – Arif has so far seen a Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga), Western tarsier (Tarsius bancanus)…



…as well as the many of the beautiful bird species found in the park.

Red-headed tailorbird (Ashy Tailorbird)

Red-headed tailorbird (Ashy Tailorbird)

White rumped Shama

White rumped Shama

Scarlet-rumped Trogon

Scarlet-rumped Trogon

Brown-throated Sunbird (Plain-throated)

Brown-throated Sunbird (Plain-throated)

Since his arrival in August, Arif has given the field station and its klotok (long-boat) a fresh look, repairing rotten boards and adding a new lick of paint. Though the bad news is the klotok only has about 6 month of life left in it, at the most!

Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station is a joint collaboration between the Tanjung Puting National Park Authority and the Orangutan Foundation. Researchers or Universities in interested in studying here should contact the Orangutan Foundation.

Tanjung Puting National Park

Last week we said we’d put up some images from Tanjung Puting National Park and surrounding areas, (Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo).  Here are a few recent ones all of which were taken during June’s Conservation Tour and Reading University’s field visit in July.

Dyok Pondok Tanggui Jenny Aundrews

Dyok – dominant male at Pondok Tanggui by Jenny Aundrews

Lynda Gent Kingfisher

Stork-billed kindfisher on the Sekonyer River Tanjung Puting National Park by Lynda Gent

Hornbill Jenny Aundrews

Hornbill on the Sekonyer River by Jenny Aundrews

Jenny Aundrews Tanjung Harapan school

Tanjung Harapan village school on the boundary of Tanjung Puting National Park.

School with Will and Kate teatowel by Ruby Grimshaw teatowel(2)

A royal gift for the school from one of the tour participants! (sorry about the quality)

Creepy crawlies Jenny Aundrews

Hitching a ride!

Reading University Presentation at Pondok Ambung Jety

Reading University field trip to Tanjung Puting National Park’s Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station.

BTNTP-Reading University-OFPak

From left to right: Head of Tanjung Puting National Park, Pak Gunung Sinegar with Dr Mark Fellowes from Reading University and Orangutan Foundation Programme Co-ordinator Pak Hudi D Wuryanto.

The water’s getting lower…

During September (dry season) the Sekonyer river, which flows through Tanjung Puting National Park (Central Kalimantan Indonesian Borneo) was very low. We are also noticing that the low tides, year on year, are getting worse. Some people believe the root cause of the low tide are illegal logging and illegal mining. 

River in dry season

Tanjung Puting National Park. Photo by Fajar Dewanto, Orangutan Foundation International 

When fire fighters from Tanjung Puting National Park (BTNTP), Central Kalimantan Agency for Conservation of Natural Resources (BKSDA Kalteng), Orangutan Foundation, Orangutan Foundation International, Friends of National Park Foundation tried to damped the forest fires in park the extreme low tide prevented the speed boat from getting through.

River in dry season

Tanjung Puting National Park. Photo by Fajar Dewanto, Orangutan Foundation International

 River in dry season

Water level on the jetty of Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station. Photo by Devis, Orangutan Foundation

This is a worrying trend. Thankfully, October has had rain reducing the fire risk.

Thank you,

Hudi Dewe

Programme Co-ordinator Orangutan Foundation

Butterflies and birds – diversity of life!

The Orangutan Foundation is proud to support Indonesian students conducting research at Pondok Ambung Tropical Forest Research Station in Tanjung Puting National Park, Central Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. We want to encourage and help young Indonesian scientists and researchers.  Researchers in a boatYusi (at the front) and Harri (in the middle) conduting their research in Tanjung Puting National Park. Photograph by Brian MatthewsIn 2009, we provided two grants, one to Yusi Indriani for her research into the diversity of butterfly species around Pondok Ambung and one to Harri Purnomo for his research into the diversity of bird species. The students spent two months at Pondok Ambung conducting their research. Indonesian researcherYusi Indriani (in the middle) presenting her research results to Ashley Leiman (left), the Orangutan Foundation Director, Rene Bonke (right), a German Tomistoma researcher and Hudi DW (just left of centre), the Orangutan Foundation Programme Coordinator in Orangutan Foundation Pangkalan Bun office.butterfly at Tanjung Puting National ParkYusi recorded over 80 butterfly species. Orangutan FoundationI hope to bring you more news about Pondok Ambung and its amazing wildlife soon.Thank you,Hudi W.D.Orangutan Foundation Programme Co-ordinator