There have been a couple of new snake identifications in Harapan. They are both pit vipers, Hagen’s Pit Viper Trimeresurus hageni and Wagler’s Pit Viper Tropidolaemus wagleri (shown in the photo). They have “pits” between their eyes and nostrils. These pits contain infrared sensors that help them detect prey. They will lie in wait for prey, usually small mammals. Because they can detect prey using infrared, they are active at night rather than the day. Both are extremely venomous. Like all snakes, they are not dangerous unless provoked. We expect Harapan Rainforest to have a very rich diversity of snakes, and we are really excited to make more discoveries in the future.
On a recent trip deep into the forest, we came across Pak Batyam and his family. They are jelutung tappers in Harapan Rainforest. They have been doing it for generations. As a sustainable activity based on non-timber forest resources, it is entirely in line with Harapan’s conservation and restoration vision. Jelutung is a natural latex that is used in chewing gum. It is sometimes called gutta percha. Jelutung tappers move through the forest, tapping the trees about every three days. If they did it more frequently the flow would dry up. If tapped properly, the trees can keep producing for decades. Some of the trees they tap are more than one hundred years old. Keep going Pak Batyam – there’s still a good market for chewing gum!