One of Sarawak’s Heart of Borneo zones, Batang Ai National Park comprises over 270 sq. km. at the headwaters of the Ai River, above the Batang Ai hydroelectric dam. This traditional homeland of the Iban people is a beautifully rugged wilderness, with undulating hills of pristine forest accessible only through a vast network of clear water rivers and streams. In addition to hosting numerous rare and protected species of wildlife, the park is home to an estimated 300-350 individuals of Borneo’s rarest subspecies of orangutan, Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus.
Since February this year, I have made a series of expeditions into the interior of this region on assignment for Borneo Adventure, a local company that has pioneered the area’s ecotourism and worked with the Iban people to develop a sustainable conservation strategy. My work was aimed at producing images for a book showcasing the rich natural and cultural heritage of Batang Ai and the neighboring areas. After a total of six weeks in the forest, enduring torrential rains, an enormous enraged orangutan, and several destroyed cameras (including one plunging into the river with a 600mm lens, and another having its innards invaded by an army of tiny stinging ants) I tallied over 6000 captured images. Shown below is a sneak peek view of a handful of the photos. The book is scheduled for publication and release in early 2014.