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Natural Exploration of OWA Himabio IPB in Bodogol West Java

  • 19 October 2014
  • Last modified at 28 April 2015

Saturday, 20/09/2014, Observasi Wahana Alam (OWA) division of Himabio IPB went on Natural Exploration activity to Sukabumi, West Java. Natural Exploration activity (EKSAM) is annually conducted once a year. The exploration was located in Bodogol Natural Conservation and Education Centre (PPKAB), The National Park of Mount Gede Pangrango. PPKAB has known as in-situ conservation area, which is occupied by various species of flora and fauna such as primates and biopharmaca plants. Therefore, the theme of this activity is “Primates and Biopharmaca Plants Exploration”. The aims of the EKSAM activity are to give Biology students knowledge about primates diversity and Biopharmaca plants, to train physical skill in the field and to make a tide relationship among Biology students.

Dr. Kanthi Arum Widayati, M.Si. taught observation methods in the beginning of Natural Exploration activity in PPKAB. Some parameters for primate exploration should be recognized such as marks of uneaten food and feces. The name of species, number of individuals, age and the activity of the primates were also parameters, which should be observed. In biopharmaca exploration, the name of species, the usefullness, the distribution and the benefit of each part of plant were the important parameters. The tools such as ATK, binocular and GPS were used for all observation.

The observation was carried out twice in the morning and the night because one of the primate species (Kukang) has a nocturnal characteristic, which is active in the night. The night observation started at 20:30 along 200 meters route. There were two routes utilized, which consist of the upper way to cipadaranten and down way to Afrika. Meanwhile, the morning observation was started at 07:00 with three tracking routes such as cipadaranten, kanopi, and afrika.

Night Observation

We felt enthusiasm for our first night observation and hopefully found somethings interesting. Headlamp was used to search night organisms in the middle of silent forests. After walking for a minute with accompanying by fireflies, a gray frog with black dot (Leptobrachium haselvi) appeared and looked like undisturbed with our existence.  

Based on the guide, there are 23 frog species in PPKAB where one of this species is Lecoporus javanicus, an endemic species in Java Island. Mushroom (Auricularia) grown on the fallen log, placed near the location of frog (Leptobrachium haselvi). After walking quite far, the centipede came up from under dry litter. The grasshopper, which moulted on the edge of pandan leaf, was observed. Headlamp was used to see clearly the molting process of grasshopper so the transparent body, which was coming out, was seen soo lovely.

Kukang was not detected during walking 200 m, so we decided to return back and hope to see it in that way. A few minutes later, a strong-scent pandan knowing as a sign of fox existence was smelt. Unfortunately, the fox moved very fast so we could not see it clearly. Kukang was searched in Kaliandra trees at 21.21. Fruits and structures of Kaliandra trees are two main factors to support Kukang activities such as foraging and moving. After observing a few minutes in the Kaliandra tree, Kukang was jumping between branches. The characteristics of Kukang are brown hair, red eyes and slowly move. Kukang (Nyctycebus) is an arboreal animal, which live in trees. In the night, moonlight helps their vision hunting insects.

Other animals such as spiders, fireflies and moth were seen. Spiders have a big size and large nest. The nest is used to trap some insects for food sources. Fireflies were flying and illuminated like a lamp above our head. When the fireflies were observed visiting white flowers, the light of fireflies was produced from lower abdomen. After some hour, young red wine moth appeared during returned back. This moth is unique because it different with other moths that have generally young brown or black brown colors. 

Morning Observation

Cipadaranten route

Cipadaranten is 1640-meter route with high diversity of trees, which can use for primates’s food. Therefore, owa jawa and other primates could exist in that route. The observation was started at 07:00 where the weather was cold and mist. It is hard to search primates in that circumtance. In this route, there were some trees that utilized by owa jawa such as afrika trees (Maeopsis emini), leungsir trees (Pometia pinnata) and saninten (Castanpsis argantea). Unfortunately, owa jawa did not occur in this observation.

After walking for while, the weather was shinning at 10:12. In that time, one individual of Surili (Presbitys comate) jumped from one tree to another. Surili is easily recognized because it has unique characteristics such as the crest hair and dark face. Surili categorizes as herbivore, which eats young leaf, flower bud, fruits and seeds. However, surili sometimes consumes insects, mushroom and soil. The soil could help their digestion process. Two individuals of juvenile lutung were eating and jumping among trees at 11:50. Once time, one of the lutung was staring us and then returned back to the trees. Two lutung were assumed from the same group. Other lutung were consuming foods above trees at 12:11. Those lutung liked to choose their food such as leafage, some fruits and flowers but sometime picked insect and bark trees as food.

Africa Canopy Trail

African track is a path connected to the canopy lines (Canopy Trail). Tracking begins at 06:30 pm and pass through the track into the forest area of the research utilization zone. Since the beginning and all the way in the tracking area, we were noticed by  many medicinal plants. Near from the starting point, we found several species of the phylum Arthropoda. The species of the phylum which we found was grasshoppers and spiders. Grasshoppers are found small with white and creamy abdominal thorax. The leg is brown to red, while the head is black. The grasshopper laying over dry leaves or litter. Other insects are found such as:  bright red small spider with black claw-like structure at the tip of the abdomen. We also found the same species with different color variations, such as black. Both spiders were hidden in each nest.

During the trip, we also hear the sound of birds which are quite beautiful. The sound came from a bird with local name ‘Takur’. Unfortunately, we did not have time to capture the beautiful figure because the bird was not visible. From a visible distance of view  we could see a hawk flapping its wings. Suddenly, when we will go to the canopy lines, there were primates coming down the tree and move to another. Characteristics of these primates are not clearly visible due to fog conditions and far distance from visible view. The tracking line that we passed quite slippery because it is close to the river but  presents a beautiful landscape.

In the middle of the canopy lines, no primates were showing up again. Finally, we decided to observe in bird view or catwalk  (name of the place) with a height of 760 meters ASL to observe primates. At 08.45 am the first surly (Presbytis comata) was coming out with the characteristic: gray-colored body, crested head, and white streaks on the feet and hands move in the middle of their habitat. The first surely that came out  was affected by a condition which  the sun had broken through the morning mist in the area. A couple minutes later, the second primates were showing up. A total of five males of  Hylobates moloch or commonly known as the Javan gibbon swinging between trees appear alternately. Primates that have a gray-colored with black face itself has a fairly active movement with changes of position every single minute. Other primates were coming out too. They are Trachypithecus auratus also known as the Javan langurs medium with jet black hair color observed, moving among the trees. “Lawton” itself has a less active movement than Iowa. As herbivore, they require a longer time to digest the food.

Observations on the behavior of the three primate species took place in the top ‘bird view’. Various kinds of behavior of Iowa, surely, or a monkey in its natural habitat looks interesting to learn more. It certainly can minimize the threat of extinction in all three species. Observations finally ended after two hours. There are five male gibbon, two surili, and two-tailed monkey was observed. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any long-tailed macaque or Macaca fascicularis during the night observation, but the three primate species which observed before was fairly enough for us.

That's all the description of EKSAM activities we have done in the PPKAB  National Park of Mount Gede Pangrango. We wish all students can broaden Biological aspect and increase awareness of Nature Exploration activity which  is essential to increase skills as a student in the field of Biology (Ivan PP, Windra P, translator).

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