One Day in the life of Jabanus Bin Miun, WWF Malaysia, Sabah
I am 33 years old and married with one four-year-old boy and another brand new baby boy. I live and work in Lahad Datu, a larger port town on the Eastern Coast of Sabah. I work with a team of five others on Biodiversity Research, which focuses on a number of important forests within the Heart of Borneo area.
Although the main office is located in town I spend most of my time out in the forest collecting samples. We spend between 20-25 days of the month in the field, but I usually come back to town by the end of the month. Nights we camp but we also sleep in the field huts if they’re available where we’re working.
On a normal day in the field I will wake around 6am and prepare my breakfast and lunch, which is usually rice and vegetables and sometimes fish and eggs too. We start the trip into the forest around 7:30am where we drive or walk to a nearby focus area.
The main task in our work is to undertake extensive wildlife surveys in the Ulu Segama Malua Forest Reserves in-between Lahad Datu and Kinabatangan. We’re interested in identifying food for Orang-utan and Elephant, obtaining samples of common food and sending them to The Forest Research Centre for chemical composition analyses to study the nutrients that feature in the animals’ diets. By doing this, we get to know the health status of these particular animals and can decide if they are getting what they need from their habitat.
I have worked with WWF-Malaysia for 10 years now. My first job with WWF was collecting data about the populations of birds living in Kulamba Wildlife Reserve, on the East Coast of Sabah. I really like birds and I learned a lot about them from that time. My favorite birds are the Bornean Bristlehead and the Pitta.
The hardest thing about my jobs is definitely the physical challenges and all the walking I have to do. I have to climb so many hills and walk through mud that is so deep that is often comes up to my waist! Also, in the rainy season it can rain very heavily for weeks on end and it’s really hard to stay dry or see long distances clearly in this weather…but really, they’re not such big problems.
I like my job and I really enjoy being in the forest. I like how cool it is and the way the air so clean. When I’m in town, I am bothered by how busy and dirty and loud everything is! The forests where I get to work are so much more quiet and peaceful.
“In the future, I would like to see North Ulu Segama (NUS) conserved and developed into Primary Rainforest. NUS is in the Heart of Borneo and is one of the last areas that is home to Orang-utan, elephants and other wildlife that are losing their habitats in Sabah.
I would also like to see some wildlife corridors created in this area of Sabah, connecting these special habitats between all of the plantations. This would allow the elephants and large mammals to move around more without disrupting the plantations.”
This article has been published on the Heart of Borneo Newsletter on December 2010