Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Life of adventure

FOR the greater part of the past 32 months, June Rubis has been rambling in the forests of south-western Sarawak.

Muscle aches, leech bites and walking in sweat-soaked clothes day-in and day-out are all part of the job in her search for the elusive orang utan.

She has also had some dangerous encounters, such as crossing paths with a Malayan sun bear, being bitten by fire ants in her hammock and her boat capsizing in rapids, plus the fear of being mistaken for an animal by hunters.

She sometimes spends as long as three weeks in the field but the Bidayuh lass is not complaining. “I feel very lucky to be paid to do what I do ... camp in the jungle and look for orang utans! Lots of people would pay for that opportunity. I can’t think of doing anything else that doesn’t contribute to wildlife conservation,” says Rubis, a biological science graduate of Simon Fraser University of Canada.

Upon graduation six years ago, Rubis landed a job as researcher with the New York-headquartered Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Malaysia Programme.

The field researcher for the Batang Ai-Lanjak Entimau orang utan project is conducting a population re-survey of the Bornean sub-species Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus in the region that hosts the most viable population of the endangered Asian great ape.

Continue reading (incl. photo) at: Life of adventure

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