Welcoming Two New Field Research Assistants

By Jak and Dika, Field Research Assistants

In March 2021 we hired two new field research assistants to work at the Cabang Panti Research Station in Gunung Palung National Park. Upon hiring, the two new assistants, Dika and Jak, began their training. Luckily, they were already familiar with the orangutan project and the site, having worked previously as field assistants for the One Forest Project at Cabang Panti.

During the first 3 months, Dika and Jak received in-depth training on all aspects of project data collection. They learned about how to search for orangutans, how to take data on orangutan behavior, how to identify orangutan food items, and how to collect orangutan urine and fecal samples. They also reinforced their skills at collecting phenology data on orangutan food trees and lianas.

New field research assistant, Dika, looks through his binoculars to observe an orangutan at Cabang Panti. 

Here, Jak and Dika share a bit about their experiences so far:

Hello, my name is Jak and I come from Sukadana village in Kayong Utara Regency. And my name is Dika and I come from Sedahan village, also in Kayong Utara. We are both so happy to be able to return to Cabang Panti Research Station once again. We have each worked here for many years, and when offered the opportunity to work here again, we did not hesitate to immediately say yes! Cabang Panti is like our home, and every person who works here with us is like our family. This place also makes us appreciate the beauty of all the flora and fauna of Indonesia. The presence of orangutans in Gunung Palung makes it an excellent place to conduct research. Since we love it here so much, it has been extra special to return back as we continue to learn new things.

So far, one of Dika’s favorite experiences has been to take data on orangutan behavior, especially having the opportunity to watch orangutans construct nests to sleep in. He is excited to continue this work both for the project, but also his own personal enjoyment, as he finds the work very fulfilling. Jak said that though he has worked at Cabang Panti for over 7 years, he has only now been able to experience following orangutans from their morning nest to night nest when they fall asleep. He also watches how orangutans eat and particularly loves to watch mothers with their offspring.

A mother orangutan, given the name Kabar, and her offspring, Kamil, in Gunung Palung National Park. Observing mother-offspring pairs is one of Jak’s favorite parts of following orangutans. Photo by Tim Laman.

We are both so happy and hope to continue to work on the project for a long time. We are now more passionate than ever before about preserving this beautiful forest and all of its living things. Let’s protect orangutans and their habitat!

Jak collects orangutan behavioral data on an iPad during a focal follow.


Management of Cabang Panti Research Station is conducted by the Gunung Palung National Park Office (BTN-GP) in collaboration with GPOCP/YP. Scientific research is carried out in conjunction with the Universitas Nasional (UNAS) and Boston University.